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Dickson City train station refurbished

Lackawanna County Treatment Court puts prisoners to work to improve communities.

Sam Granteed paints the old train station in Dickson City.

submitted photos

The Lackawanna County Treatment Court Community Service Team in front of the train station they restored, from left, are Mike Balko; C.J. Currie; Justin Haymond; Tom Lavelle, Treatment Court community service supervisor; Tom Evans; William Bo Hoban, Treatment Court project identification coordinator; Eric Mitchell, Home Depot; Mark Webb; Dickson City Mayor Anthony Zaleski; Vinny Roberts.

Dickson City Mayor Anthony Zaleski knows how to identify a problem and create a solution. That’s why he teamed up with Lackawanna County Treatment Court, Home Depot, the Boy Scouts, and the Stone Masons Union to renovate the run-down train station on Boulevard Avenue in Dickson City.

Tom Lavelle, director of community service, approached Zaleski looking for a project in which the Treatment Court participants could give back to the community and enhance the borough.

“I invited Tom and his group to restore the old train station that’s been overgrown and out of use for years. After we saw the great work they did, we asked the service group to help paint the city’s ambulance building,” Zaleski said.

From May 11 to May 27, the Treatment Court Community Service Team refurbished the weathered and neglected train station in Dickson City. They power washed, scraped down, primed, and painted the entire station with supplies donated by Home Depot. Supplementing the Treatment Court’s work, the Boy Scouts landscaped and the Stone Masons Union built a brick clock tower.

Lackawanna County Treatment Court is a nationally renowned and cost-efficient alternative to prison that saves taxpayers $7 million annually by non-incarceration. Rather than locking up an offender on drug charges, Lackawanna County Treatment Court mandates unemployed participants to take part in community restoration projects, adding positive structure to their daily lives while sprucing up local boroughs and municipalities.

Lavelle noted that many participants who enter the program have been unemployable because of their addiction, but the community service projects enable them to learn valuable labor skills, a strong work ethic, and a sense of self-sufficiency. Participants are overcome with pride upon completing their projects and giving back to the community, which contributes to the confidence they need to face their addictions and obtain jobs.

“Their time is filled with positive activities, not just the same old people, places, and things,” Lavelle said.

William “Bo” Hoban, Treatment Court liaison, advocated that, “The service projects help the community to understand that their perception of an addict may be inaccurate. The community learns that many offenders are good people with a bad disease and they can positively contribute to society.”

Tom Lavelle added, “As we were working, people pulled up to the train station, clapping out their windows, and thanking us,” in reference to local passersby who appreciated the work done at the station.

The community was so pleased with the Lackawanna County Treatment Court’s restoration that plans are in the works to make the station an entertainment facility. In giving back to the community, the participants not only gained pride in restoring the city, but they also gained the hope to restore themselves.

For more information about the Lackawanna County Treatment Court, contact Edwin Doherty, program coordinator, at 496-1736. To learn more about the community service programs, contact William Hoban at 963-6452 extension 7180.

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