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Lackawanna mayor, in State of the City address, hails redevelopment of Bethlehem Steel site

The continuing development of the former Bethlehem Steel plant site and the July 1 start of dredging of Smokes Creek highlighted Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski’s State of the City address Thursday in City Hall.

For years, Lackawanna residents – many living in the 2nd Ward – have been forced to pay for flood insurance even though there is a low risk of flooding, Szymanski said.

Dredging is set to begin sometime after July 1, Szymanski said, noting that state Department of Environmental Conservation rules require such dredging to occur after the spawning season.

“They’ll be dredging from the mouth of the creek to the train lines near the 2nd Ward,” he said. “The project was actually downsized.”

Two projects on the former Bethlehem Steel site may be operational this spring, according to Szymanski, who noted the continuing expansion at Welded Tube USA, a Canadian steel pipe company that opened a factory in 2013.

“North American Salt has selected a great Lackawanna resource, the Lackawanna deepwater slip on the old steel plant site, as a location to quickly unload and also bag salt that has arrived via cargo ship,” Szymanski said.

The salt station development has an opening planned for April, confirmed Fred K. Heinle, director of development.

The installation of the Steel Sun Project’s 13,000 solar panels will be completed in the spring, Szymanski added.

“A value of $10 million will make the City of Lackawanna the first community in the United States to have a solar farm and a wind farm on a brownfield,” the mayor said. “That’s a lot of green energy being produced by Mother Nature.”

Welded Tube is continuing its three-phase expansion that is projected to create 121 jobs, he said.