By David Lindenmuth
MAHANOY CITY - In January 2017, the Mahanoy City-based youth-led newspaper Coal Cracker Kids acquired the former Mahanoy City Lumber Company building at 435 West Centre Street.
Recently, the non-profit quarterly paper received a grant to repaint portions of the 12,500 Square-Foot building's exterior.
"Coal Cracker Kids got a grant for $50 and twenty gallons of paint to repaint the building, and we need volunteers for (Saturday and Sunday) September 9 and 10" said Sara Dimmick, one of the newspaper's writers.
Coal Cracker Kids will be hosting a Fresh Paint Days event that weekend to repaint the building, and they're looking for volunteers to help make the project a reality.
"Volunteer help is needed throughout the Fresh Paint Days weekend September 9 and 10. People of all ages are welcome to participate by sharing skills like sanding, scraping, painting, and basic carpentry. Gifts of funding or refreshments are also needed to support the project." A news release from the group states. "Interested Fresh Paint Days volunteers should register with Coal Cracker Kids prior to September 9 and 10 by sending an email or calling 570-647-6407."
The grant was provided by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, BEHR, and The Home Depot through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania Program.
About Coal Cracker
The Mahanoy City-based Coal Cracker Kids a quarterly print and online youth-led media outlet for children ages 12 to 18. The paper began in 2014.
Krista Gromalski, co-founder of Heron’s Eye Communications, Greeley, Pike County, started the paper, and brought on Board Members Peg Grigalonis and James J. Rhoades Jr., and Project Coordinator Leslie Richardson.
The newspaper is not affiliated with any local school district, and its writers range in age from 12-18, and currently include this Shenandoah-based reporter.
Until January 2016, the group met in the Mahanoy City Public Library.
'Coal Cracker Kids is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission to empower young people of Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Coal Region through youth-led projects that explore sense of place and promote professional development" its website reads.
About the Building
The former Mahanoy City Lumber Company building was built in 1900, according to the Schuylkill County Parcel Locator, and has only had three owners since its construction.
Harrison and Anna Ball owned and operated Harrison Ball Lumber & Hardware in the property from its construction until 1921, when the property was sold to the Mahanoy City Lumber & Supply Company.
The Mahanoy City Lumber Company operated from 1921 until around 1995, and the 435 West Railroad Street was only a portion of a former network of properties, much of which were destroyed in a 1984 fire.
Since 1995, the property has housed offices for Pedriani Construction and Custom Design Inc and for Hallmark Homes, Mountain Top, Luzerne County.
According to Gromalski, over the past ten years, both companies have ceased use of the office space.
The plan for the property is to serve as the newspaper's editorial offices, and potentially double as a community center in the former hardware store.