State commits funds to clean up former manufacturing property for renovation by Wilkes U.

The state is providing financial help to clean up a downtown building Wilkes University plans to renovate.

The building at 116 S. Main St. is one of three statewide approved for funding through the Industrial Sites Reuse Program.

The state approved the Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund for a $680,375 grant for environmental remediation of the 60,000-square-foot office building that was formerly a Sears, Roebuck and Co. store and before that a furniture store where furniture and coffins were made.

The ISRP funding will be used for the removal of asbestos, lead-based materials, PCB containing light ballasts, mercury containing components and other hazardous materials. Wilkes will renovate the building for a multitude of uses, including classrooms, bookstore/retail and meeting space.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the funding awards Tuesday for the Luzerne County property and sites in Montgomery and Allegheny counties. The ISRP provides loans and grants for environmental assessments and remediation.

“The benefits of the ISRP are twofold, not only removing harmful chemicals and contaminants from these sites and protecting our environment, but also making them ready for new occupants,” Wolf said in a prepared statement.