The people plugging away to reshape downtown Wilkes-Barre seemingly share a similar vision for the streetscape of the future. Take this seven-question quiz to see if you’re a good match to join their brain trust.
1. When eyeing an old building for the first time, your instinct is to size up …
a) its architectural merits.
b) the distance, measured in steps, from its front door to the nearest public parking lot.
c) its likelihood of imminently collapsing during the next (pick one: snowstorm, soaking rain, heavy fog, few minutes) and harming untold numbers of innocent passersby.
d) how quickly it could be knocked down.
2. If portions of a white picket fence surrounding your property were to rot, you would …
a) replace the weakened posts and slats, then painstakingly match the coloration of the new wooden pieces to the existing paint (hmm, brilliant white, linen white or cloud white).
b) slap up a similar-looking fence made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
c) wait a few years until the fence toppled over, then gather, chop and store it for fireplace kindling.
d) knock it down.
3. Do you have experience in operating …
a) a small business?
b) a community fundraising campaign?
d) a bulldozer?
4. When vacationing in other U.S. cities, you spend the most time admiring …
a) historic homes and other well-preserved sites.
b) government buildings, public plazas and museums.
c) bustling retail centers.
d) large parking lots.
5. If desperate to find a new occupant for a vacant Wilkes-Barre structure, your first phone call would be placed to …
a) a national real estate marketing firm.
b) the president of a Luzerne County-based college.
c) the ever-obliging and entrepreneurial Leo Glodzik III.
d) a demolition company.
6. As a child, your favorite game/toy was …
a) an Erector set.
c) Pick-up sticks.
7. Your strategy for boosting customer traffic to existing businesses in the city’s hub would involve …
a) working to improve occupancy levels in nearby empty storefronts.
b) supplying extra security, especially at night.
c) doing your personal holiday shopping downtown.
d) encouraging savvy store owners to pull up stakes and move someplace else — say, Sarasota or Scranton — where the people on the sidewalks outnumber the concrete barriers circling soon-to-be-demolished structures.
If you responded with an “a,” “b” or “c” to any question, sorry. Your services are not needed for this city’s 21st century “redevelopment.”
If you answered “d” to all of the above, congratulations and welcome to the condemnation crew. You’re the kind of urban planner who will do the city proud as it levels and reinvents itself. Attend meetings held monthly on the site of the former, historic Fell Tavern, more recently used as a parking lot. Bring your favorite sledgehammer.