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Refurbished stadium leads to success of night football

Lackawanna officials Monday basked in the afterglow of high school football under the lights at Veterans Stadium and heard input from the City Council and residents about improvements for the next game.

Friday night, the Steelers hosted their first night home game in 45 years. It was played in a much-improved stadium before a capacity crowd of more than 2,500 people.

The Steelers rallied from a scoreless first half to defeat the Olean Huskies, 14-8.

"[It's] the old saying: 'Build it and they will come,' " 3rd Ward Councilman Chuck Jaworski, 55, said at Monday's meeting. "And they came."

The city native continued: "I have never, never seen the amount of people there and the smiles on their faces when they walked into that stadium."

"It really was a glorious moment to see our community come together," Jaworski said. "It's definitely an asset for the community."

Council President Ronald Spadone was similarly enthusiastic, complimenting the city and school district crews who worked together on the project.

"I certainly think it was a plus for Lackawanna," Spadone said.

But some areas needing more attention were raised at the meeting.

Karen Zeughardt of Wilkes Barre Avenue noted that while there was a large presence of city police, with mounted patrols from the Erie County Sheriff's Department inside the stadium, no one was directing traffic outside afterward.

Councilmen and other city officials surmised it likely was an oversight.

First Ward Councilman Ricardo Estrada also noted that the surfaces in the concrete stadium -- particularly the stairs -- became slippery when it began to rain. Chief Engineer Thomas Love was asked to look into solutions.

Lackawanna's junior varsity football team will play in the stadium this week.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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