EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: Luzerne County should bet big on tourism

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The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·2 min read
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Apr. 4—The idea of moving the Luzerne County visitors bureau to White Haven, floated this week by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, is not as far-fetched as it might seem to Wilkes-Barre-centric county officials.

Mullery makes a good point that White Haven sits near three major roadways — Interstates 80 and 81 and the Northeastern Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike — that are the main gateways to the region and three state parks that draw thousands of people per day in season, Lehigh Gorge, Nescopeck and Hickory Run.

Those outdoor enthusiasts spend millions on food and lodging, equipment purchases and recreation each year, according to the state.

The current plan, to relocate the visitors bureau from Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, the county seat, to the former Central Railroad of New Jersey Station just blocks away also has its advantages.

Wilkes-Barre is more central to some of the region's other main tourist attractions, including the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino and the Mohegan Sun Arena, home to minor-league hockey and major shows and concerts.

The Wilkes-Barre plan would also preserve and renovate the long-vacant station, which is more than 150 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places.

These are both sound proposals. So why not do both?

Mullery's plan would locate the visitors bureau in the White Haven Area Community Library and Visitors Center. Perhaps Visit Luzerne County, the county's tourist agency, could lease part of the building, giving an economic boost to the library. Perhaps that satellite visitors bureau could operate seasonally, closing up shop in the deep winter when outdoors activities in the parks are limited.

The Wilkes-Barre location could remain the central office for the agency.

Luzerne County contains a myriad of tourist draws in its 900 square miles. Why limit ourselves to one visitors bureau?

Let's think big and do both.