Last updated: February 19. 2013 9:05PM - 4986 Views

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WILKES-BARRE ‚?? Bill Moore, president/CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry, Friday told the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association he is working to help fill the vacant storefronts in the city‚??s downtown.

Moore said he was familiar with Wilkes-Barre before he accepted the position to head the chamber. He remembers the awnings on South Main Street and he‚??s impressed by the recently improved Coal Street corridor.

‚??That was a critical project,‚?Ě Moore said. ‚??Coal Street connects the city to the interstate highways.‚?Ě

Moore told the group having two colleges in the downtown and a community college nearby is a huge plus. He said he would like to see ‚??a heightened police presence‚?Ě downtown.

The meeting was held at Movies 14 on East Northampton Street. Moore said some 600,000 people attend movies each year.

‚??We‚??d like to see those customers come into town earlier and visit our stores and restaurants,‚?Ě Moore said.

He urged businesses to join the chamber, saying it offers a one-stop resource for networking and promotions.

The DWBBA began its annual holiday program Friday, visiting downtown businesses to sing Christmas carols. John Maday of the chamber said the holiday window painting project had more than 40 participants this year, far more than in 2011.

Drew McLaughlin, city administrative coordinator, gave a brief report on the decision to discontinue the free meter parking during the holidays. McLaughlin said the decision had nothing to do with the city‚??s financial dilemma.

‚??Our research found that turning over the meter spaces more frequently was better for downtown businesses,‚?Ě he said.

Up until this year, the city would offer free meter marking from noon to 8 a.m. daily. The program would commence on the day after Thanksgiving and continue until after Jan. 1.

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