Fell Twp. Embarking on Partnership to Help Eradicate Blight

After experiencing success in the county’s biggest city, the Lackawanna County Land Bank looks to continue that success in one of the county’s smaller communities.

Officials on Monday braved the rain at a press conference held at a blighted and long-vacant former Fell Twp. schoolhouse. With a crumbling stone foundation, broken and open windows and a rusted-metal staircase hanging limply from an open side door, the Ontario Street structure is a stark contrast to the surrounding residential homes. It’s also a target of county and township officials bent on eradicating blight.

Fell Twp. is set to be the first municipality outside of Scranton to partner with the Lackawanna County Land Bank, which helps return abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use by clearing them of all back taxes and municipal liens before marketing them to potential buyers. Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday on a cooperation agreement establishing the partnership, which would allow the land bank to acquire 11 Fell Twp. properties, including the former elementary school, from the county repository list, county Economic Development Director George Kelly said.

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