Wilkes-Barre River Common Receives Commonwealth Award for Sustainable Development

October 24, 2011


Wilkes-Barre River Common Receives Commonwealth Award for Sustainable Development 

Contact: Jack Machek, jmachek@10000friends.org, 717-234-6070 

Wilkes-Barre – The reconstruction of the River Common in Wilkes-Barre received a 2011 Commonwealth Award at 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s recent annual awards program as an outstanding sustainable public infrastructure project. The project received the prestigious Diamond Award - one of two projects statewide to receive 10,000 Friends’ highest honor - at this year’s Commonwealth Awards event. 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the state’s leading Smart Growth advocacy organization, presented Commonwealth Awards to 22 Smart Growth projects across the state. 

“This is an extremely high quality public infrastructure project -- a model of what can be done,” the Awards Jury said. “The riverfront is now the front door to the city of Wilkes-Barre, replacing the previous imposing levy walls that cut the city off from its riverfront.” 

The 55-acre downtown riverfront park is located on a strip of land between the Susquehanna River and Wilkes-Barre’s downtown commercial core. Previously, the area was cut in two by flood control levees. But now, the project has transformed those levees into a stunning riverfront promenade. In the process, it reclaimed lost ground, bringing the park back to the river’s edge. As a result, the project doubled the park’s usable acreage (returning the tract’s functional parkland to almost 45 acres) while reclaiming the riverfront. 

The Commonwealth Awards is a juried statewide program honoring Smart Growth projects. 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania invited submissions from companies and organizations that have contributed to a wide range of project types—urban infill, historic preservation and rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, public infrastructure, Brownfield redevelopment, traditional neighborhood development, farmland preservation, and revitalization plans. 

Smart Growth strategies build suburban, urban, and rural communities that have more transportation options; have more housing and recreational choices; are closer to job opportunities, shops, and schools; support the local economy; are more energy efficient and independent; and help protect green space, clean air, and clean water.

“The Commonwealth Awards honor outstanding examples of smart growth projects here in Pennsylvania,” said Jack Machek, President and CEO of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.  “We received a record number of submissions this year, and it’s very encouraging to see so many smart growth projects succeeding as many sectors of the construction industry are struggling to rebound. 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is proud to showcase the companies and organizations working to build stronger towns and communities across the state.” 

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is the leading advocate in Pennsylvania for responsible and efficient land use. Our vision is to have a positive impact on the built and natural environment through efficient land use. Founded in Southeastern Pennsylvania in 1998, 10,000 Friends has aligned and supported organizations and individuals from across the state committed to land use policies and actions that enable Pennsylvania to strengthen its diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities and reduce wasteful and inefficient land consumption. For more information visit: http://10000friends.org/       

2011 Commonwealth Awards Press Release - RiverCommon34 KB