i Oct 23rd 2001

Wilkes-Barre, PA — The Diamond City Partnership today announced that a two-year contract has been signed with Service Group, Incorporated to provide supplemental cleaning services as a part of Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s new “Clean and Green” program. Cleaning services are expected to start in the designated area of Downtown (initially within an area bounded by the east side of River Street; the west side of Pennsylvania Avenue; Union Street; and Northampton Street) by November 8. According to Tom Lawson, Chairman of the Diamond City Partnership, “The Clean and Green program is a direct outgrowth of the feedback we received at the Visioning Sessions held earlier this year. The cleanliness and safety of the Downtown were participants’ number one concern. The Clean and Green Program is designed to address that concern by creating a Business Improvement District where our contractor – Service Group – will provide intensive supplemental cleaning services. The concept of a Business Improvement District is not unique to Wilkes-Barre; in fact, BIDs are in operation in hundreds of communities across the United States. What is unique about our program is that the funding comes from voluntary contributions from the business community, rather than through the creation of a public authority. We are pleased to have Service Group Incorporated working with us on this effort. They have extensive experience in providing this type of service in cities around the country. We particularly wish to thank the many businesses and property owners, both within the Downtown and beyond, whose generous contributions are making this project possible.”

Service Group, Inc. of Malvern, Pennsylvania, has over 20 years of combined experience in providing service to business improvement districts, and currently maintains contracts with districts including Washington, DC; Richmond, Virginia, Columbus, Georgia; Madison, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; Trenton, New Jersey; and Springfield, Massachusetts. Service Group will hire “stewards” who will administer the Clean & Green program in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. The scope of work includes, but is not limited to, sweeping and power vacuuming all public sidewalks in the district twice a day; keeping sidewalks free of dirt, trash, and weeds; regular power-washing and graffiti removal; and cleaning the interior and exteriors of all planters, tree wells, and benches.

Lawson continues, “The Diamond City Partnership sent out bids to 22 firms throughout the region to obtain the services needed for this program. Service Group brings the kind of experience we need to get this important effort underway. We plan to start the Clean and Green program in the areas described, but we are hoping to be able to expand the program to other areas of the Downtown in the days ahead.”

The Diamond City Partnership is continuing to accept contributions toward this effort. For more information on the program or to make a contribution, contact the Partnership at (570) 208-9737 or e-mail: diamondcity@wilkes-barre.org. Lawson adds, “It is important to note that Downtown Wilkes-Barre serves the entire region: over 12,000 people work there each weekday, and thousands of others live, attend school, shop or attend events in our Downtown. Because of that, the demands on a Downtown environment are greater than anything that any municipality – here or around the country – should have to address on its own. That’s why Business Improvement Districts were developed, and that is why we are implementing the Clean and Green program here.”


The Diamond City Partnership was formed as a result of a series of Downtown Visioning Sessions hosted earlier this year by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, the Metropolitan Development Corporation, and the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association. The Diamond City Partnership today includes over 50 representatives from City and area organizations including, but not limited to, representatives of city government, Downtown residents, colleges and universities, places of worship, cultural institutions, businesses and the media. The Partnership was specifically created to implement the six Downtown revitalization strategies that were developed at the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Visioning Sessions. Those six strategies are:

To create a voluntary Business Improvement District
To create a formal, market-driven Downtown development plan
To facilitate new business development and promotion
To create a higher education/Downtown Task Force
To encourage the creation of Downtown Residents’ Associations
To preserve and protect our historic resources