i Jul 3rd 2001

WILKES-BARRE, PA – The newly formed Diamond City Partnership recently elected officers for a one-year term. City resident Tom Lawson, of Borton-Lawson Engineering, was elected Chairman, and Marilyn Santarelli, Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, will serve as First Vice Chairman. Guy Izzo, leader of the South Wilkes-Barre Neighborhood Association, will serve as second Vice Chairman, while Larry Herbster, Vice President/General Manager of WBRE/Nexstar Broadcasting, will serve as Treasurer and Murray Ufberg, Esq., Partner, Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald, will serve as Secretary.

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 Board today includes over 50 representatives from City and area organizations, including, but not limited to, representatives of city government, city residents, colleges and universities, religious organizations, cultural institutions, professionals, businesses and the media.

The goal of the Partnership is to implement the six Downtown revitalization strategies – known as Solutions for Change – which were developed at the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Visioning Sessions. Those six solutions are:
1. To create a formal, market-driven Downtown development plan
2. To create a voluntary Business Improvement District
3. To facilitate new business development and promotion
4. To create a Task Force on higher education in Downtown
5. To encourage the creation of a Downtown Residents’ Association
6. To preserve and protect our historic resources

Commenting on the work ahead for the Partnership, Chairman Tom Lawson states, “We, as residents and area leaders must work together and positively to make the vision this community outlined for Downtown a reality. To make this happen, we need the input and energy of volunteers from the community. Subcommittees have been formed for each of our six tasks, and we will be contacting participants in the visioning sessions to join various subcommittees, based on their stated interests. We all have talked to friends and neighbors about the fate of our Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Regardless of where you live and where you might do business, the vitality and strength of Downtown Wilkes-Barre affects you. Now, we all need to take action and work together harmoniously to make the future we envision for the Downtown and this area a reality.”