Archive for Insight

Wilkes-Barre’s Colleges and Universities: America’s Best Community

King’s College, the Commonwealth Medical College, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County Community College, and Wilkes University all have one thing in common: a current or soon-to-come downtown Wilkes-Barre anchor!

These colleges and universities have worked to connect their students to the downtown fabric by utilizing spaces on Public Square for classes and programs, remodeling their campuses throughout the downtown, and involving students in activities that encourage them to engage with the community.

King’s College’s King’s on the Square building welcomes their students to the downtown, and invites the community into their attached Zime restaurant. Local artwork is also showcased in indoor and outdoor exhibits. Additionally, the college has decided to share their space with the Commonwealth Medical College to bring TCMC’s exercise science and athletic training programs to the downtown.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre has become a part of the downtown by contributing the seed funding that they received from the INVENT Penn State Initiative to support the development of an entrepreneurial lab and mentorship program in the Innovation Center on Public Square.

The Luzerne County Community College has a space on Public Square for local students-an extension of its main branch.

Wilkes University’s Gateway Project has connected different segments of their campus, improved public safety, and enhanced a walkway throughout the downtown.

Students have also embraced activities that utilize our area’s natural resources and connect them with the surrounding community. Wilkes students have discovered outdoor assets of our area by participating in the 2015 Outdoor Nation Challenge-where they placed 4th out of 57 schools! Penn State Wilkes-Barre students have even become involved in the America’s Best Communities competition by educating and engaging local businesses, non-profits, community members, and college students!



America’s Best Communities Update: Penn State Wilkes-Barre Partnership

Penn State Wilkes-Barre students have been involved in the America’s Best Communities competition!

As their semester project, Terry Clemente’s Contemporary Business Skills class at Penn State Wilkes-Barre have been educating and engaging local businesses, non-profits, community members, and other colleges students about the America’s Best Communities Competition and our community revitalization plans and goals.

The 12 students in the class were divided into three groups, and each group was assigned a personalized hashtag (#PSU1, #PSU2, and #PSU3) to promote some friendly competition and allow students to track their progress through social media. Each team was responsible for developing their own education and social media engagement strategy for ABC, which they would then implement throughout the semester.

Students were given suggestion lists of local businesses, non-profits, community events, and surrounding higher education institutions to reach out to about the Wilkes-Barre’s plans for the ABC campaign, and were encouraged to connect with organizations and individuals from their own networks as well.

The students sent emails, made phone calls, arranged meetings, and set up outreach tables throughout the community to spread the word about America’s Best Communities, and to engage local organizations and community members through social media. People were encouraged to show their support on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the ABC50 hashtag. Many have responded featuring pictures of their businesses with our America’s Best Communities signs, “selfies” with these signs, or text posts about the competition. The students themselves have developed countless posts to promote ABC, and one group has even developed a Facebook page for The City of Wilkes-Barre’s ABC campaign.

The student’s efforts have been responsible for over 300 posts, with approximately 3,300 additional engagements through likes, shares, and comments.

They have truly connected with and inspired our community, and have made our community excited about being one of America’s Best Communities!



America’s Best Communities Update: Public Square History and Redesign

“The redesign is focusing on how we can keep that initial idea, but how we can adjust it so that the city doesn’t require as much maintenance, and people can use [Public Square] in a better way… For us, it’s an investment in how we can create a place for the next 40 years that works for these functions. We know it’s worked for the last 40 years. With a little bit of maintenance and a little bit of care, we can revamp these things, keep our history, and then design something for the next 40 years.” -Nicholas A. Snyder, AIA, Senior Associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Watch Nicholas Snyder talk about Public Square’s original design, and how Bohlin Cywinski Jackson plans to built upon this foundation in their future redesign project.

Architecture, Riverfront, and Walkability in Wilkes-Barre: America’s Best Community

The City of Wilkes-Barre is home to many awe-inspiring architectural masterpieces –all located within its River Street Historic District!

Over 200 buildings representing the architectural styles of Art Deco, Baroque, Beaux Arts, Chateauesque, Craftsman Style, Gothic Revival, Classical Revival, Greek Revival, Moorish Revival, Colonial Revival International, Italiante, High Victorian Gothic , Neoclassical Revival, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Renaissance, and Romanesque, can be found throughout our downtown streets.

Private and public entities have undertaken countless rehabilitation projects throughout the district to restore and modernize the buildings of the downtown. Mixed-used projects, including the Luzerne Bank Building development and the Northampton and Main/Movies 14 project, have connected entertainment, office, and residential spaces. Additionally, many historic buildings, including the Fredrick Stegmaier Mansion, have been restored to their original splendor. Our park-like River Common space has also opened the riverfront back up to the community, and is host to many community events.

Rehabilitation and reuse strategies continue to be a focus area for our America’s Best Communities Revitalization Plan-so stay tuned!


Watch above to learn more about Wilkes-Barre’s architectural history, riverfront development, and restoration projects!