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Former YMCA to be repurposed

The former YMCA Children’s Discovery Workshop on West Fourth Street will become 20 to 30 apartments encompassing four floors, city officials said.

Mayor Derek Slaughter told City Council’s finance committee that building plans were approved by Joe Gerardi, city codes administrator; Gary Knarr, city zoning administrator; and Jon Sander, city engineer.

Slaughter said he hand-delivered the building permit this week to the developer who is repurposing the building located at West Fourth and Elmira streets.

“The plan is to have shovels in the ground within the next few weeks,” Slaughter said.

“That is fantastic news,” said Councilwoman Liz Miele, committee chair.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said he recently spoke to Chris Doherty, who served as Scranton’s mayor from 2002 through 2014. Doherty helped to facilitate the agreement with a developer from that area and the city.

“He (Doherty) was true to his word…in two weeks they would have it ready to begin,” Allison said.

“It has been a long pandemic and it has made construction difficult but it is important that we have understanding but it will be good to have that project underway now,” Miele said.

The project stalled during the pandemic.

Miele said she heard from those interested in the community who wanted to know how long it would be until the building is rehabilitated to serve as a location for apartments.

Amidst the advice from EConsult Solutions Inc., a city consulting business, was to work with interested qualified developers to see repurposing existing building stock or new construction for more residential growth to strengthen the city tax base and provide incentive to urban living.

The repurposing of the building has been on the drawing board for several years.

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