WILKES-BARRE — Ever since the city sold the old firehouse on Scott Street, the owner has allowed residents of Parsons to visit and maintain the veterans memorial monument on the property.
The former No. 9 firehouse is again for sale and they wonder if the new owner also will be a good neighbor.
Richard Lombardo bought the property for $42,001 in 2010. He’s converted it into a four-bedroom home and operates his tent business on site. The asking price is $295,000. The monument and flagpole behind it are featured in the photographs of the online real estate listing of the property.
Lombardo could not be reached for comment after repeated attempts this past weekend.
Neighbors like Charlotte Raup have said good things about him and thanked him for letting them onto his property to get to the granite monument.
“It’s pretty much the focal point of Parsons,” said Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition.
There’s a service at the monument after the Memorial Day parade. The Parsons Lions Club and Crime Watch will plant flowers there this coming weekend, Raup said.
From what she could gather, Raup said, members of a club in Parsons donated the monument years ago.The inscription reads, “Lest We Forget This memorial is dedicated by the grateful citizens of Parsons to the memory of all who served and we especially honor those who gave their lives that freedom and justice shall not perish from the earth.”
The monument was placed there after the firehouse and adjoining police precinct opened in 1931. The firehouse closed in March 2006.
The city offered it to the Osterhout Free Library for $1 for use as its use its north branch, but it was cost prohibitive to repair and remove asbestos.
She faulted the city for selling the monument with the firehouse almost four years ago.
“I think that it should not have been sold in the first place,” she said. “Now is the time to make it right.”
The city should buy back the area that includes the monument and flagpole, or the owner should donate it to the city, she said. Another option is to move the monument to another location. Next door is Parsons Park the includes a Little League baseball field, playground, basketball courts and football field.