Wilkes-Barre mayor hopes to make city’s downtown a ‘tourist attraction’

i Feb 4th 2017

By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George told the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association on Friday morning that his goal is to make the downtown a “tourist attraction.”

“We have to change our strategy to bring people in as tourists and make it a college town,” George said at the meeting at city hall.

George said if Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance expands to the city-owned Hotel Sterling property, it would bring in 400 to 500 new jobs.

Bob Thomas, spokesman for GUARD Insurance, would not say how many jobs an expansion could create, but referred to a previous statement from GUARD officials that said only that they are exploring an expansion to the Hotel Sterling property.

The company had 553 employees at the end of 2016, with 448 of them working locally and 119 hired in 2016, according to GUARD Chief Operating Officer Carl Witkowski.