Mayor Thomas M. Leighton hosted an "Open House" to showcase the facilities available at Coal Street Park on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 9. Details for public programs including figure skating, learn-to-skate, ice hockey, and curling were announced, with more anticipated in the coming months.
Coal Street Park includes the ice rink and a redeveloped, eco-friendly facility housing retail commercial space. Announcements regarding plans to develop the surrounding grounds with playing courts, public fields, and pavilions were also included in today's event, with the Mayor noting that an engineering firm is expected to be selected by next week. Representatives from the Diamond City Figure Skating Club and the Wilkes-Barre Junior Pens Hockey League were also on hand to answer questions about public programming.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were officially named as Coal Street Park's management and commercial anchor tenant. The Penguins will develop and instruct all of the City's programs on ice that take place at Coal Street Park.
"I'm delighted to partner with the Penguins to bring these ice programs to our community," said Mayor Leighton. "The facilities at Coal Street Park, as well as the surrounding grounds in development, will exist for everyone to enjoy."
The Coal Street Park revitalization effort is funded by state and federal grants, and no City of Wilkes-Barre general fund revenue has been allocated towards this $13.7 million dollar project. State and local representatives were instrumental in securing this funding.
"Mayor Leighton and the groups involved in this project have done an exceptional job working to renovate Coal Street Park into the area's premier recreation facility," said Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11). "It is such an achievement to know that the New Markets Tax Credit, which I worked with President Clinton on, will provide part of the funding for this project. Now, seeing this program put to use in Northeastern Pennsylvania and helping a local community secure financing for a renewal project, shows the exact purpose behind the initiative."
Coal Street Park will be open to the public beginning the weekend of March 19, 2010