CAN DO, the CAN DO Community Foundation, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the City of Hazleton held a ceremony Tuesday to announce the official naming of the downtown park located at the corner of Broad and Laurel streets as CAN DO Community Park and unveiled future plans for the park.
CAN DO and the CAN DO Community Foundation each contributed funds to purchase the naming rights to the park. CAN DO has also agreed to assume responsibility for maintenance of the park over the next 50 years.
CAN DO President and CEO Kevin O’Donnell said the organization is excited to announce its latest investment in downtown Hazleton. “CAN DO remains committed to the ongoing revitalization of our downtown. In our role as Greater Hazleton’s economic development organization, we recognize the importance of maintaining a vibrant and attractive downtown area,” he said. “CAN DO and the CAN DO Community Foundation are proud to partner with the City of Hazleton, the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce in our continuing efforts to make Greater Hazleton the best place to live, work and play.”
CAN DO Community Foundation President Gary F. Lamont said, “In keeping with our mission of Conservation, Preservation and Reclamation (CPR) – Breathing new life into the community, the CAN DO Community Foundation is proud to be a part of this beautiful new addition to downtown Hazleton. The CAN DO Community Foundation played a leading role in initiating downtown revitalization after holding a community-wide strategic planning session that led to the development of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, so we truly feel as if we’ve come full circle today with the dedication of CAN DO Community Park.”
Phase 1 construction of the park has been completed. Final bids for the Phase 2 construction package are due by May 22 and are expected to be presented to Hazleton City Council members at a meeting that evening. Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, said the bid cost will determine how many additional phases of construction there may need to be to complete the project. Once the bids are reviewed, officials will know which park features can be funded in Phase 2 and, if necessary, what features will need to be funded by future phases of the project.
Phase 2 construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will be handled by Barry Isett & Associates, the landscape architecture and engineering firm for the project.
CAN DO Community Park is the latest investment in CAN DO’s dedication to the revitalization of downtown Hazleton. The organization purchased the former Remember When building at 21-23 West Broad Street, renovated the façade and leased the building to Gottstein Chiriboga Holdings, Inc., which plans to open an Irish-style pub and eatery in the space. “CAN DO is excited to have the Gottstein family make another investment in our community by offering another dining option in center city,” O’Donnell said.
CAN DO also contributed funding toward the renovation of the former Security Savings bank building, which will be the new home of the Hazleton Art League, and is partnering with Penn State Hazleton, the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce on The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) program and the new Hazleton LaunchBox facility, which will be located at 13-15 West Broad Street.
Schneider said the commitment to the park from CAN DO and the CAN DO Community Foundation is the latest example of the community effort it’s taken over the past four years to make this park a reality.
“We appreciate CAN DO and the CAN DO Community Foundation and their generosity and commitment to the downtown revitalization efforts. It is important to remember that this project all started with the community coming together in 2015 to develop the downtown’s strategic plan and recognizing the important role that green space has in not only beautifying the city, but also providing much needed civic space for community events,” Schneider said.
“It’s also important to recognize the city for their cooperation in making this park project possible and the state for their funding support. It took three years to raise funds for this phase from five different agencies and organizations including the Commonwealth Financing Authority, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Office of the Budget, CAN DO and the CAN DO Community Foundation. This would not have been possible without the strong support of our state legislators, Rep Tarah Toohil and Senator John Yudichak. We are proud that the Alliance was able to help raise these funds and facilitate the project.”
Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat said, “This is an exciting project for the City of Hazleton and we thank everyone involved in making this downtown park a reality. We will be looking forward to having a ribbon cutting in the future to celebrate this new green space.”