Lackawanna County Commissioners appoint community members to land bank board

For Abington Journal | October 10th, 2015 4:43 pm

SCRANTON — The Lackawanna County Commissioners implemented seven individuals as board members of the Lackawanna County Land Bank on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The land bank was created by the commissioners on June 17 of this year via the passage of Ordinance 239.

The overriding goal of the land bank is to deter blight by using available resources to facilitate the return of vacant, blighted, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use. This will combat community deterioration, create economic growth, strengthen the tax base, and revitalize neighborhoods.

The seven land bank board members all have the relevant expertise and experience to guide the startup and ongoing direction of this important tool, aimed at revitalizing our communities. The members are:

• Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley

• Linda B. Aebli, Executive Director of the City of Scranton’s Office of Economic & Community Development

• Henry E. Deeke, Jr. Real Estate Broker and Appraiser

• Marion E. Gatto, Past Secretary, Treasurer and President of the Greater Scranton Board of Realtors

• George Kelly, Director of Planning & Economic Development for Lackawanna County

• Terrence McDonnell, Dunmore Zoning Board

• Steven Pitoniak, Transportation Planning Manager for Lackawanna County

The land bank’s initial actions are to develop plans, practices and procedures. An intergovernmental agreement is key to working with communities and school boards, and it will be a priority to move the land bank into operation.

The land bank will hold community information and outreach sessions to discuss the many benefits of what a land bank can achieve in Lackawanna County. In addition, feedback and dialogue will be used to verify that the priorities and direction meet the needs of the communities interested in working as part of this newly formed initiative.

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or