June 27–Street lighting and environmental and recreational projects that have been in the works for the past several years could soon get underway in Hazleton, a city official said.
The city will accept bids through July 11 for remedial work at an East Green Street lot that once housed a commercial building with an oil storage pit, a project to replace aged street lights with energy-efficient bulbs, and tennis court repairs at Beech Street Playground, according to Joseph Zeller III, Hazleton’s director of recreation and economic development.
The city will pay for the projects with grants and donations.
Work on the Green Street property is a continuation of a years-long effort undertaken by Hazleton Redevelopment Authority, Zeller said.
The land at East Green and Fulton Court is near homes that were built as part of a revitalization program known as the Pine Street Neighborhood Project. A commercial building that once stood at the property was demolished more than a decade ago, leading to the discovery of a stone-lined oil pit that contained an estimated 350 gallons of oil.
Over the years, the city relied on grants and federal Community Development Block Grant funds for installing monitoring wells, collecting soil vapor samples and installing clean fill in place of impacted soil, city officials have said.
The latest phase involves replacing impacted soil with clean fill and disposing of the former, Zeller said.
The city budgeted just under $48,000 for the latest phase and will use a $35,805 Industrial Sites Reuse Program grant and $11,935 in CDBG funds to complete the work, he said. The price includes all aspects of the project, including engineering, he said.
The redevelopment authority owns the lot. The property could be sold when the remedial work is completed.
“The property will be viable once again,” he said.
The Community Development program would be reimbursed if the property is sold, Zeller said.
The city is also soliciting bids for the first phase of a project to replace aged street lights with LED bulbs.
Two years ago, the city secured a $200,000 gaming grant for upgrading 1,000 street lights.
The grant stipulates that work must be completed by June 30, 2019, according to Zeller.
The project includes purchase and installation, he said.
Mayor Jeff Cusat worked with city resident Dee Deakos when completing the gaming grant application a few years ago.
The third and final project eyed by the city involves resurfacing both tennis courts at Beech Street Playground.
The city will use $11,000 in federal CDBG funds, a $12,000 donation from Cargill for recreation, and a roughly $4,400 recreation grant from Luzerne County for upgrading the courts, Zeller said.
City council will review the bids when it meets July 11.
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