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Officials: Scranton headed in a positive direction

From the economy to emergency services, housing and technology, officials from Scranton gave an update on where the city stands.

"It's our job to show people that government can work for them, to help them understand they deserve good things to help them have a positive attitude and outlook for their city to be proud of where they call home," said Scranton Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti. "And to believe that their future is bright.”

Cognetti and her cabinet gave Scranton's State of the City address on Thursday, July 6.

City government is working together across sectors, said Cognetti. They are making organizational changes and adding technology tools, like streamlining permits and licensing processes.

"Every day our goal is to improve quality of life and safety in every neighborhood in Scranton and position our city as a destination for investment industry, good jobs and new residents as a place that the kids who have left want to come back to," she said.

With funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the city has been able to help new and existing businesses. They’re updating amenities at parks and making stormwater improvements.

"We've created jobs, we've redeveloped properties, and we've allowed businesses to expand their physical space and their dreams," said Eileen Cipriani, business administrator.

The city’s long standing lawsuits are either closed or in the process of being settled, said City Solicitor Jessica Esgrow.

"For so long in the city's history, we were focused on cleaning up internal struggles that we had financial dysfunction," she said. "Now we're finally in a place where we can dedicate more resources to serving our residents and businesses.”

Scranton Fire Chief John Judge has been with the department for over two decades. Many fire department programs are now focused on preventing emergencies from even occurring.

"It's a different vibe," he said. "Now, I can honestly say that 21 years ago, we wouldn't be talking about all the positive things that are occurring here in the city.”

Similarly, the police department is working to addressing crime trends before they happen in the city.

Cognetti said the city can’t get bogged down by the past.

"If we work together as one Scranton we can become that destination city," she said. "The city that attracts a new generation brings back the kids who grew up here. We have to plan for success and we have to work together. And perhaps most of all, we have to believe that we deserve the best city possible.”

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.