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Cargo airport advisory board considered

County could join group to keep abreast of developments

Luzerne County commissioners may join two other counties to form an advisory board to keep them posted on the proposed cargo airport.

The Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to advertise for volunteers to serve on the Luzerne/Schuylkill/Carbon Tri-County Cargo Airport Advisory Board.

The board would stay on top of airport developments, including a soon-to-be-released state study of the proposed facility, and provide progress reports to commissioners, said Luzerne County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla.

The idea of creating an advisory committee has been tossed around for months. Schuylkill County commissioners recently asked Petrilla to act on the plan, she said.

Petrilla stressed the board would be advisory, with no power to make decisions or borrow money.

Luzerne and Schuylkill commissioners would each appoint seven members, while Carbon County would furnish one appointee, she said.

An economic impact study of the $500 million cargo airport proposed by Gladstone Partners LP near Hazleton will be released on June 11, state officials say.

Two area legislators called for the study before the state considers committing economic development funds to it.

Commissioners also voted Wednesday to:

• Hire Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services to help sell the site of the former Klein Auto Parts building at 360 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre. The county had purchased and demolished the building for $55,000 to create a parking lot for the former juvenile detention center, which is no longer in use.

Mericle will list the property for 60 days before bids are due. The minimum bid will be $45,000, which is the current fair market appraised value, county officials say.

• Accept the donation of a 1996 Dodge Stratus from Andrew Leskovicz of Nanticoke to be used at Moon Lake Park.

• Hire attorney John Aciukewicz at an hourly rate of $150 to handle the condemnation of land needed for the Ashley Planes Heritage Park and construction of a new nursing home in Plains Township.

The county was in the process of selling 8.2 acres of county land to Complete HealthCare to build a new privately owned nursing home and found a .066-acre parcel that had no title claim, officials said.

• Accept the resignation of assistant county solicitor Joseph J. Prociak.

• Hire Renee Butts, Moosic, as an executive assistant for $37,000 per year. Butts will work for minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban. He said she was chosen from 30 applicants.

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