PLAINS TWP. — For more than three decades, $11,000 has been sitting in the bank to build a gazebo in memory of veterans at the “Brick,” a once popular youth hangout at Main and Carey streets.
But township officials are not interested in a gazebo at this intersection, saying a permanent structure would block other improvements there — namely a brick wall that they erected, along with a clock and new lighting, using a $250,000 state casino grant solely earmarked for beautification.
Instead, township officials have asked the township’s Bicentennial Commission, which oversees the gazebo fund, to consider a gazebo or other project at a township park or somewhere else, according to a township letter sent to commission member Ronald Filippini.
“The Board of Commissioners has been receiving numerous inquiries regarding these funds and would like to see them used before many who have contributed have passed on and are unable to see their donations used for any purpose,” the letter said.
Filippini, 70, expressed frustration, saying he had unsuccessfully requested commission involvement in plans for the site before officials settled on the wall option. The wall says, “Welcome to Plains Township. The Keystone of Wyoming Valley,”
“I have a few ideas, but whatever is done, I think it should be done at the ‘Brick,’” Filippini said.
The Bicentennial Commission has approximately six members left and will meet soon to present a recommendation, he said. If there’s no room left for a gazebo at the site, a statue and American flag may be options, he said.
Filippini said the money hasn’t been touched, other than the addition of interest earnings and $1 he deposits annually to prevent the account from being marked inactive.
Township Commissioner Thomas Shubilla, 34, said he still remembers a fundraising thermometer for the gazebo project that used to be posted when he was growing up, and he wants a solution.
The welcome wall plan was designed to provide a statement at the busy Carey-Main intersection, which is essentially the sprawling township’s version of a downtown, he said.
“We wanted people to get a sense of what Plains Township is if they’re coming to visit and looking to move here,” Shubilla said. “We would like that area to be built up more and see more businesses come in.”
A gazebo or pavilion elsewhere could be named in honor of the Bicentennial Commission and honor the citizens who donated funds or had purchased a memento brick as part of the commission’s fundraising years ago, Shubilla said.
“We’ve talked about a million ideas, but we’re not getting anywhere with this,” he said.
In a letter-to-the-editor Filippini penned in October, the former township commissioner noted the original gazebo plan was stalled for more than 30 years because the township did not have a deed to the property. He was among the township commissioners who approved plans for a Turkey Hill Minit Market at the intersection, allowing the transfer of a strip that once housed The Brick to become township-owned, he said.
“The people of Plains Township and others donated for the gazebo project, and I believe we should honor the purpose of their donations and put the gazebo at the ‘Brick,’” he wrote in October.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.