The Susquehanna River Commons will benefit from $200,000 in support from King’s College and Wilkes University.
Image by Nathaniel Eric Seals

King’s College will pay $100,000 over the next five years to support the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Park, if a new proposal passes on October 10.

King’s will be joined by Wilkes University who will also be contributing $20,000 a year for the next five years to maintain the Riverfront Park.

This funding is designed to help reduce the city’s heavy reliance on volunteer workers to maintain the park and also to allow the city to increase the number of events offered at the park.

This funding is designed to increase local business revenue and raise tourism rates along with promoting a more involved communal presence in Wilkes-Barre events.

John Loyack, the chief financial advisor at King’s, had further information to discuss about the deal and its potential impact on Wilkes-Barre.
The proposed plan for funding the Riverfront is designed to bring further economic success into Wilkes-Barre.

“[The River Commons cleanup will] open doors for new partnerships and improving Wilkes-Barre business, bring people into the downtown area, and expose [tourists] to the King’s campus and emphasis on community involvement,” Loyack said.

Loyack, King’s College ‘85 Alumnus and Luzerne County Board member, explained the logistics of the plan and its projected benefits for the colleges along with the community.

The main prospects of King’s involvement in the plan were geared towards the student body in hopes of “continuing to improve upon student programming and activities,” Loyack said.

This means that the proposed financial plan for Riverfront, which is to be voted on by the Luzerne County Board on October 10th, is offering various opportunities for college students to integrate and get involved with the River Commons community.

According to Loyack, it is the “first major opportunity to integrate River Commons with the college community” all the while having two benefits of “keeping the area clean and promoting programs for students.”

In 2010, the Riverfront Park was completed and was heralded as a great success. However, over the next seven years, Riverfront usage and its condition has continued to be a pressing issue for the Luzerne county area.

The proposed funding deal between King’s College, Wilkes University, and Luzerne County aims to solve this problem.

Both Wilkes and King’s agreed to generate $20,000 a year for 5 years towards maintenance and improvement costs of the park.

Along with the county banking an addition $10,000 a year from natural gas drilling in the area, the grand total comes out to be a $250,000 facelift for Wilkes Barre’s beloved Riverfront.

The Riverfront Park is an integral part of the Wilkes-Barre city revitalization effort. This park blends nature and urban-life, featuring a 750-person amphitheater, paved walkways, several gardens, seasonal trees, a fishing pier and two bridge gateways connecting the city to the Susquehanna River. It is consistently ranked as one of the top most visited attractions according to the Wilkes-Barre Visitors Bureau.

After the Wilkes-Barre area faced Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the government mandated floodwalls to be built and levees to be raised in order to prevent any future flooding epidemics.

Although these measures were taken as a precaution towards keeping the public safe, it separated the local area from the beloved Susquehanna River.

The Riverfront facelift was designed to reconnect the river to the urban hub of Wilkes-Barre after years of separation by flood walls and the levees.

The overall goal of the enterprise was to design and include a gorgeous recreation space that linked the pedestrian style of strolling along the city with the leisure