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Hazleton is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Susquehanna. It has a population of 24,197 people in the city proper, and a total of 34,083 people in the Greater Hazleton Area as of the 2015 census.
The city is the county seat of Wyoming County, as well as the financial and cultural center for the county. It is also a major culture center for the entire nation. Although its economy is slightly smaller than the rest of the Commonwealth, it has a huge growth potential for the next century as businesses begin to relocate production facilities to the city.
Hazleton was a city in southern Luzerne County. It was formed from a single outpost constructed at the junction between Wilkes Barre and Berwick. A few homes and buildings were constructed, but most of the area remained heavily wooded, but there was some logging in the area.
In 1818 coal deposits were found in the region and several rail lines were constructed into the area. More building were constructed. Several coal companies sprung up in the area, and several schools were constructed by them.
The coal industry attracted immigrants from the rest of the world.
In 1857 the area was incorporated as a borough, and a city in 1891 with a population of 14,000 citizens. That same year it became the third town to install a citywide electric grid.
The city was at its height in the 1940's and began to decline afterwards up to Doomsday. This was due to several disasters that killed off the mining industry in Northeast Pennsylvania.
At the time of Doomsday it was one of the only cities left in the United States left with a majority of its pre World War II architecture intact.
On Doomsday, the city was not a target, being the 17th largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of 27,318 citizens.
It was the second largest city in Luzerne County, behind Wilkes Barre, with a population of 51,551 people, and the third largest in the Wyoming Valley behind Wilkes Barre, and Scranton with a population of 88,177.
Wilkes-Barre and Scranton were both struck by nuclear weapons, and a smaller tactical nuke hit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
Refugees streamed down the interstate into the city. The local police, State Police and Air National Guard contingent mobilized to help the survivors, setting up a triage center.
Immediately after the first reports of a nuclear war came in the fire chief pulled the air raid sirens. People began to panic, and many fled the town for the south where they though it would be safer. The town council called an emergency meeting and quickly ordered all police units to the courthouse, municipal buildings, and supermarkets.
Then, they mobilized the small Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and the recruiting station along with JROTC and ROTC men from the local colleges, and high school. These units secured the entrances to Hazleton with soon to be useless cars and trucks.
Meanwhile, the State Police guarded the gas stations, and moved their cars and trucks into a concrete and steel garage, in hopes of saving them.
All this was accomplished within hours of the bombs striking.
After the bombs hit, and the people began to come out of their shelters, the refugees came in droves. Hundreds, if not thousands of survivors of the strikes on Scranton and Wilkes-Barre begin to overrun the city's police and supplies.
But within hours, the police and hastily assembled National Guard were forced to retreat back to the town hall. After a gun battle with desperate refugees, and a handful of gangs, the soldiers made the decision to evacuate the government from Hazleton to a safer location.
Some riot police armed with tear gas, pepper spray, and handguns held off the crowd until the National Guard was able to safely remove the government from the dangerous situation.
A few soldiers wanted to commandeer an old J3 Cub at the airport, but eventually elected to go to McAdoo, a small community south of Hazleton, spared refugees and radiation only by luck.
After spending several months in the community, and organizing a small militia, the survivors attempted to reclaim the city from the mob of refugees.
Today the city encompasses six square miles of land with a population density of 4032.83 people per square mile. It is the fifth largest surviving city in former Pennsylvania, behind Reading, State College, Meadville, and Gettysburg. It is ahead of Warren and Allentown. It is a relatively modern city, although most, if not all of its architecture is pre-World War II styles.
The city is growing, although not nearly as in the past. Culturally and economically, the community is seen as a 'successor' to the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton which were both nuked. It has received several companies that relocated to the city after Doomsday and the destruction of the two named cities. The economy of Hazleton is still relatively small compared to the rest of Susquehanna, but it is growing and is expected to catch up in coming years.
Since joining the Commonwealth, the city has seen major growth in business, culture, and infrastructure. The federal government has put money into repairing the main street, and upgrading the trolley system. Other plans are to rebuild the transformers outside the city, electrify the trolley, encourage foreign business to move to the city, and improve security.
The city of Hazleton has a city council of eight elected members, as well as a city mayor. It works with a strong mayoral system where the mayor may vote on issues when the rest of the city council gives a tied vote. They also operate their own public transit system, city police, public water, trash, and sewage, minor electricity supply, emergency services, and public works.
The local government can pass laws and ordinances regarding building codes, snow clearance, and property upkeep. They are responsible for maintaining order within the city limits as well as regulating mass transit costs and maintenance of the buses and vans.
The city is also the county seat of Wyoming County, supporting a courthouse, county sheriff, county prison, and providing government services for the rest of the county. A new courthouse was built in the city to replace the one that was destroyed in Wilkes-Barre.
Federal authorities have a presence in the city as well. There are offices for the courts, the attorney general, code enforcement, the Susquehanna DOT, and the public defender. Most are located in the downtown area, and around the Hazleton City Hall.
Hazleton has a population of 24,197 as of the 2015 census. This makes it the largest city in Susquehanna by a large margin. With this population, Hazleton has 32.9% of the population in the entire Commonwealth. The population growth is expected to bring its population past the pre-Doomsday level in several years.
Being the largest city in Susquehanna means that it also contains a majority of the minorities that are present in the nation. As of the last census there are 1073 African Americans, 532 Asians, and 721 Hispanics. Most speak English, although there is a very small population that speak Spanish. Unlike the rest of the nation, Pennsylvania Dutch is rarely spoken, due to few or no Amish in the city.
Still a majority of the population is white. This has led to some racial issues and a few gangs have remained intact to 'counter' the problem.
Metropolitan Statistical Area
Hazleton is the primary city in the Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the largest in the Commonwealth with a population of 34,083 people. The city is the economic center for the region. There are several banks with headquarters or offices in the downtown as well as many storefronts, restaurants, and local businesses.
Mass transit is provided to several of the communities in the MSA, and the local populations often travel to the city for work, business, or for recreation.
Much of the city's infrastructure remained intact following Doomsday. Roadways have deteriorated due to the lack of maintenance, but with asphalt from Montour County, repairs have begun. The Hazleton Public Transit has recently reformed to provide transportation to the population due to the collapse of automobile usage. There are talks of purchasing new buses and vans from Niagara Falls to replace the aging fleet of vehicles.
Interstate 80 runs into Hazleton with a new roadway complete in 2009 between the section near Berwick and bypassing the I-81 exit. It uses former Pennsylvania State Route 91.
There are many office building and many businesses have set up in Hazleton due to better transportation available, plus tax incentives.
Almost all of the buildings in Hazelton were constructed prior to Doomsday. Much of it is pre-World War Two architecture and is brick and mortar.
The main landmark building in Hazleton is the current Susquehanna Bank and Finance building in the downtown. It it is the tallest building in the nation and operates as primary headquarters for the bank.
Hazleton is divided into several neighborhoods. There are eight of them, although if West Hazleton is included, there are nine.
- Downtown/Central Business District
- Industrial District: This area has all of the city's manufacturing sector. It is south of the financial district. Few citizens live in this section besides squatters. The police and private security heavily patrol this section at night and on weekends.
- Midtown: This neighborhood is located between the Downtown and the Uptown areas. Most middle class white collar workers live in this area of the city.
- Uptown: This area is the north section of the city. It is just south of Wilkes, and north of Midtown. A majority of lower middle class and blue collar workers live in this section of the city.
- Wilkes: This area is located in the farthest north part of the city. A majority of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and poor whites lived here. The neighborhood is named after the former city of Wilkes-Barre.
- Woodlands: This area is located just east of the Downtown. Most people who live here are wealthy. It is the smallest neighborhood, and many mansions have been build in this area since Doomsday. The neighborhood has a suburban feel to it and infrastructure is better maintained than other parts.
Downtown/Central Business District
Downtown Hazleton is the primary financial and economic hub of Susquehanna alongside downtown Bloomsburg. It hosts a majority of businesses in Hazleton as well as headquarters for several major companies in Susquehanna.
It has more or less replaced former central business districts of Scranton and Wilkes Barre as a major economic hub in former Northeast Pennsylvania. Today, the downtown area boasts three high rises and several low rises, and fairly modern infrastructure.
Most businesses operate out of the downtown. Some of the businesses with headquarters are Weis Markets, Hazleton Textile Mills, Susquehanna Bank and Finance, and an assortment of other companies.
There is only a downtown permanent population of 210 people. Very few actually live in this part of town, most live in the other neighborhoods. The downtown, due to the collapse of the automobile market, is mostly pedestrian, but also there are bike lanes for commuters and a lane for the mass transit.
The local government has begun to prepare a revitalization of the downtown buildings and structures. Susquehanna Bank and Finance has been considering building a new headquarter building in the downtown. This is mainly because their company has been expanding that the current building is too small for management. No date has been announced for breaking ground, but it is believed that a Canadian company has been contracted for the building.
It will be built on a plot of land only about 100 feet from the current building.
Since Doomsday there have been very few cars available to everyday citizens. To improve transportation, the city of Hazleton restarted bus transit in the city of Hazleton, a trolley system, as well as a bike sharing programs. All modes of public transportation are operated under the authority of Hazleton Public Transit. They manage busing, the trolley, taxi services, and bike stands.
City and county leaders have all agreed that expanding and modernizing mass transit will be need to attract business and commerce to the city as well as encourage people to move to Hazleton. Currently there is a 1% sales tax and 1% income tax in Hazleton, 1% sales tax and 0.5% income tax in West Hazleton, and a 0.5% sales tax in the rest of the county. They also receive a 0.05% sales tax from the rest of the nation to pay for it.
Hazleton operates the Hazleton Public Transit Bus Services. It has four 1979 GM RTS-03 Rapid Transit Buses, two 2015 GeMiNi RTS-04 Rapid Transit Bus, six 1976 E-450 vans, one 1980 Dodge Ram Van, and five Ford Galaxie taxis, ranging from 1963-1971 in age, that operate. The Authority provides coverage in Hazleton and West Hazleton. It replaces Luzerne County Transportation Authority.
All vehicles operate from Church Street Station at 126 Mine Street in the downtown area. Buses with routes to other communities always begin in this depot. The station has a check in counter for out of town travel, and passengers can purchase tickets to travel elsewhere.
Offices for the transportation authority are in the building as are a snack stand, a customer service counter, an information kiosk, a ticket booth for the airport, a small parking garage with 100 stalls, a small bike parking garage with 170 stalls, and several small businesses selling travel related items.
For other stops, the city uses wood stands with a roof, map and advertisements. There are benches on the sides as well.
Daily ridership is higher than in most cities due to the low amount of cars in the population. On average, ridership is between 15,000-17,000 per day, depending on what day it is. It tends to be higher on the weekends.
This high percentage of usage is due to the overall lack of private transit and the low cost of transit.
The transit bus and van service operates from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Monday to Thursday, 5:00 AM to 3:00 AM on Friday, 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM Saturday, and 7:00 AM to 12:00 Midnight Sunday.
Bus route times run on 20 minute intervals, and vans run on a route anywhere from 20 minute intervals to three hours.
- Blue Line- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Midtown: four stops, one bus
- Green Line- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Uptown: six stops, one bus
- Red Line- Loop around Downtown (Church Street Station): eight stops, one bus
- Grey Line- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Wilkes: Four stops, one bus
- Orange Line- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Bloomsburg: three stops, one bus
- Purple Line- Midtown to Uptown: four stops, one bus
- Line Two- Wilkes to Uptown: three stops, one E-450 van, one Dodge Ram van
- Line Three- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Reading (Reading Railroad/Franklin Station): two stops, two E-450 van
- Line Four- Downtown (Church Street Station) to West Hazleton: five stops, two E-450 van
- U Line- Downtown (Church Street Station) to Hazleton University, loops around campus: six stops, one E-450 van
Taxis run 24 hours a day, Monday to Saturday. They have no set route and may take riders where they need to go. The taxis are limited to the city, and traveling to West Hazleton, the airport, or Eckley's Mining Village. Like some former large cities, taxis are hailed or chartered. Most of the time they will sit on the side of the street waiting for passengers, but will move to pick someone up. All the taxies are based from the Church Street Station.
The Hazleton Public Transit has been purchasing newer buses from Niagara Falls in coming years, retiring the vans, and adding an additional eight buses to the routes. They also plan to expand the number of buses running in the more popular lines. The budget has funds to purchase two buses a year and the buses will both arrive April 1st of each year for the next seven years
The city of Hazleton is the only community that operates a trolley system, under Hazleton Public Transit Trolley Services. It is a horse drawn system using cars that were assembled by local factories in the late 1990's, and the city has since purchased several trolley cars from the Danville Steel Mills. They have been fashioned to look similar to the cars operated in Philadelphia prior to Doomsday. Recently the city council has looked into installing natural gas generators onboard to power them, or possibly electrifying them with aid from Reading.
The trolley is the second most used form of transportation in the city. There is a daily rider rate of approximately 2,000 riders per day.
Hazleton has 17 bike racks distributed around the city and three outside of it for citizens to rent. Rentals are 30¢ an hour and they may be returned to any other location in the city.
Each stand has ten bikes to rent. Five stands are located downtown, five in Midtown, four in Uptown, two at the Hazleton International Airport, two in the Woodlands, one in Wilkes, and one in West Hazleton.
Hazleton International Airport is the primary provider of air transit for the city. It has never been used as this since Doomsday due to the lack of private aviation. There are no aircraft utilizing the facilities, but there are talks with Canadair to begin flights every few months to Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls or Saint John's, Canada.
The airport is managed by the Wyoming County Air Authority, and the City of Hazleton.
The city is near Reading International Airport and some commute to Reading as more aircraft operate from it. This has prevented the airport from seeing major growth over the past several years, although it has seen a bit more air traffic, and serves as a feeder airport for Reading.
A handful of military aircraft are operated from the airport as well, under the Hazleton International Airport Air Station, and have separate hanger bays as well as fuel supplies.
There is rail service for cargo shipments throughout Susquehanna, with old lines being connected to new built lines in the rest of the nation. The city is the terminus for the planned Future Susquehanna Light Rail System. It will serve to connect most of the communities in Susquehanna with a quicker, cheaper, and more effective means of mass transit.
There are two law enforcement agencies located in Hazleton. The City of Hazleton Police Department (Abbreviated: CHPD) is the primary force in the city. There are 97 sworn officers, and 150 civilian employees. They are the largest law enforcement agency in Susquehanna. They are also more heavily armed than the other police departments, often engaging the raiders and gangs operating in the area.
The State Police have their East Barracks headquarters in Hazleton and regularly patrol the area on horseback.
Although the police force has a small amount of officers in it, there a few divisions each with approximately three officers.
- Armed Robbry
- Missing Person's
- Special Victim's Unit
Unfortunately, being the largest city in Susquehanna, it has a higher crime rate compared to the rest of the nation. Overall though, crime is lower than prior to Doomsday, and much lower compared to other major cities.
The State Police and local police are attempting to combat this by improving police coverage and availability, and are working on repairing streetlights. Most of the crimes are robbery and other blue collar crimes. Most arrested and convicted are sentenced to a prison sentence and hard labor during that sentence to discourage continued actions.
Much of the local economy is focused on mining, light manufacturing, and services. There are several important companies with their headquarters in Hazleton. Susquehanna Bank and Finance operates out of the former Markle Banking and Trust building, with a yearly revenue of nearly one million dollars. Hazleton Textile Mills make cloth for export and sale, with both the headquarters and primary facilities in, and around Hazleton.
American Mining Incorporated has offices in downtown as well as a storage facility just outside the city. They also operate several mines outside the city, and a processing plant.
Accounting offices, lawyers, and other businesses are located in downtown Hazleton, as well as headquarters for several industries as well.
There are several coal mines outside of the city, providing it with needed heat in the winter. The mines supply coal to the Danville Steel Mills, and in the near future will supply it to the Montour Power Plant.
Even with these industries, the city is still recovering and is poorer than the rest of the country. The average family income is $400 USD per year. The government is working to increase this as soon as possible as they are $250 USD below the national average for yearly income.
Hazleton hosts two semiprofessional sports teams, one from the Susquehanna Football League, and one from the Susquehanna Baseball League. The Hazleton Jets are the semiprofessional football team, while the Hazleton Mountaineers play in the SBL. Currently, the Mountaineers are the champions for baseball, and the Jets made it to the Super Bowl last year, but lost 48-17 to the Danville Steelers.
The city also hosts sports teams from Hazleton University, which play in the SNAC league against Bloomsburg University and Columbia County Community College.
Locally, Hazleton Area School District plays in the SIAA against other schools in the nation.
The city of Hazleton is covered by Hazleton Area School District, and the Wyoming-Schuylkill Vocational Technical School. The city has a below average literacy rate with 42% of citizens being literate, although the government is attempting to address this by encouraging children and teens to remain in school until graduation. This has helped, with the drop out rate in the 2013-2014 school year only being 17%.
Students who attend the vocational school have a higher graduation rate than those who attend the local high school.
Hazleton University is located just outside of the city, and was the former Penn State Hazleton branch campus. There are several hundred students on campus and many students who pursue a college education attend here. Columbia County Community College also hosts a branch in the city downtown.
The city has acquire several nicknames over the past decades. Three were given prior to Doomsday, and the one was adapted afterwards.
- The Mountain City
- Mob City
- The Power City
- The New Scranton
The city is rapidly increasing in size. There are plans to expand the city outwards, possibly absorbing West Hazleton, and the surrounding communities.
Local officials believe that the city could grow to contain a population upwards of 70,000 people. The federal government is unsure about this, and want to keep the population around 50,000 people maximum. They are willing to allow 57,000 people if West Hazleton is incorporated into the city.
It is hoped that by the year 2250 the city will expand to encompass the entire county and could potentially host a population of 500,000. This though, is far into the future and none of the current government will live to see it.
A local and federal goal is to have the area hooked up to the power grid as soon as possible. This should increase business and available capital. It would stimulate the economy and potentially bring in businesses from Reading and Allentown to a cheaper city, that is still well connected.