PITTSTON – Pittston Mayor Jason Klush was sworn in for his second term Monday night by Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Fred Pieratoni.
Also taking the oath of office were former Councilman Kenneth Bangs, who is beginning his third term after taking a several-year break, and Controller Chris Latona, who is beginning his seventh and final term. His position will be eliminated after his new term is up because the controller position was eliminated in the Home Rule Charter that passed in 2012.
Councilman Michael Lombardo was sworn in earlier in the day by new District Judge Alexandra Kokura-Kravitz.
Lombardo was named council vice chairman and will preside over council in the absence of the mayor. He previously held the title of deputy mayor because he was the council’s accounts and finance chairman before the Home Rule measure.
Former Councilman Joe Chernouskas was appointed to the city’s Redevelopment Authority to fill the term of Joseph Hines. His five-year term will expire on Sept. 15, 2017.
In other business:
• Council designated Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank as depository for city funds; Landmark Bank as depository for sewer maintenance funds and liquid fuels funds; and M&T Bank as depository for the sewer system improvement project.
•Council appointed Operations Coordinator David Allan Hines as the city’s Open Records Officer for the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law.
• Council approved applying for a $500,000 Anchor Building grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the Newrose Building, also called the Penn-Park Building, in the center of the downtown. The building was recently acquired by local developers Pat Hadley and Tino Feretti.
If obtained, the grant would be loaned to the developers at a low interest rate and when paid back, it could be used again for other projects. The application is due Jan. 14 and the city should know by spring if they received the grant.
The 5-story building most recently housed a day care and offices. It is now vacant.
Joe Chacke, executive director of the city’s Redevelopment Authority, said building is in fair condition, but is not completely up to code, Chacke said. A new roof is needed.
Chacke said the city hopes for a mixed-use property, with commercial/retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and residential, loft-style apartments on the upper floors.
He said one of the requirements of the grant is the proposed projects must have some historical value, and the New Rose Building has plenty of that.
In the past, the Newrose building was considered Pittston’s first “skyscraper,” said local historian Ron Faraday, and gets its name from the combination of two past owners names, Jacob Newman and Joseph Rosen.