NANTICOKE — Demolition is slated to begin Tuesday morning on a longtime eyesore that stretches a city block — a former industrial building that later housed L.S. Skate-A-Rama and L.S. Bowl-A-Rama.
City officials along with state Sen. John Yudichak, I-14, of Swoyersville, will gather at the intersection of Walnut and Washington streets at 10 a.m. for a ceremony to celebrate the start of demolition.
The city and its municipal authority, which owns the building, obtained more than $1 million in state grants to pay for the demolition, which is expected to take several weeks.
“When I first ran, the biggest thing I wanted to do was get that building torn down. Previous mayors tried to do it and we couldn’t get the funding for it,” Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said Monday.
The building, the former Duplan Silk Mill, encompasses the entire length of Washington Street between Walnut and Prospect streets.
Crews from Dunmore-based SRI Demolition will start demolition on the Walnut Street side of the building, which was the entrance to the skating rink portion of the building, which has been abandoned since a massive fire ravaged the property in 1991.
The other side of the building, which housed the bowling alley, has been vacant and deteriorating since that business closed in 2007.
"It has been a total eyesore for the city," Coughlin said. "I’m thrilled it’s coming down. It will be flattened and from there hopefully we’ll get someone to develop the land."
Coughlin said it was a team effort to get to this day with city officials, state legislators and the municipal authority working together.
Sara Hailstone, a consultant for the General Municipal Authority of the City of Nanticoke, which purchased the property at a tax sale, said the building has been "an eyesore and challenge for the city for many years."
“It’s been a long time coming and a lot of good people put work in on this project,” Hailstone said.
She said since the building is a structural hazard, environmental abatement, such as asbestos removal, will also be taking place at the same time as demolition, which will delay completion.
Soon enough, however, the land will be ready for development, she said.
“We do get calls occasionally. We will be looking for proposals and potential buyers,” Hailstone said. “It will be the board’s decision what’s the best use for the property.”