Archbald, Pennsylvania – Lackawanna Valley

April 22, 2024

Archbald, Pennsylvania

Where natural beauty meets preparedness


A place to call home with low crime, good neighbors, and inevitable expansion.

Archbald Borough in the scenic Lackawanna Valley, captivates with rolling hills, dense forests, and a tranquil landscape. The earnest settlement of this Pennsylvania gem began in 1845, drawing Irish Catholic settlers fleeing the potato famine.

A magnificent region, it boasts vast woodlands punctuated by well-tilled farms. Named after James Archbald, a prominent figure in the Lackawanna Valley’s development, the borough continues to strengthen its roots.

Beyond its pastoral charm lies a geological marvel—the Archbald Pothole. This natural wonder, the world’s largest glacial pothole, draws tourists and locals alike. Within Archbald Pothole State Park, this elliptical hole plunges 38 feet deep, cutting through sandstone, shale, and coal. Gazing into the abyss underscores the forces that shape our planet.

In geologic terms, potholes form when water relentlessly wears away bedrock in strong rapids or at the base of waterfalls. The elements conspired to create a unique spectacle—a reminder of Earth’s ancient dance.

Generations have woven narratives into Archbald’s fabric. The once raw landscape now bears the marks of progress—roads paved, homes built, and dreams nurtured. Accompanying growth is the need for added safety measures, and the Borough of Archbald has that under control.

Emergency Operations Center—A Strategic Hub

This unassuming facility will be a central command-and-control hub during emergencies, coordinating strategic-level responses, preparedness, and disaster management.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright secured $3 million from FEMA for its development—a testament to Archbald’s commitment to safety.

Accreditation through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association awaits, ensuring peer evaluation, and earning the designated status. Regular reviews occur every three years to ensure 100% policy adherence, including officer documentation and procedures. Timothy P. Trently, Archbald Borough Chief of Police, states, “There are over 139 bulletins to meet and 139 standards with 242 sub-standards.”

The expanding Valley View School District has three schools inside Archbald’s jurisdiction and the borough provides resource officers to those locations. In emergencies, the Emergency Operations Center will play a crucial role in responding to incidents within the district.

With volunteer recruitment a challenge for fire departments, there is a push to merge multiple fire departments into one cohesive unit. This consolidation will not only streamline operations but also ensure better coverage and response times for emergencies. “Archbald was a mining town with hills and valleys. In the old days, the fire truck was a horse and a buggy, so they built fire halls on the hills and valleys,” adds Trently.

Experiencing rapid expansion requires foresight, insight, and hindsight.

Commercial and Residential Development

As Code Enforcement Official for the Borough of Archbald, Brian Dulay liaises with the planning commission – civilians assisting the town council with the land development plans.

There are three major sections in the town. The Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway, runs on the easternmost mountain and has two exits within Borough.  Business parks with plots ready to be developed provide amble employment opportunities. One of the largest users is a warehouse totaling 800,000 square feet and employing 1,000 people. These businesses are vital in providing the municipality with tax income.

Along the western edge, Business Route 6 houses retail commercial uses and restaurants. Upcoming development includes new stores and a 24/7-style convenience store with a gas element. Dulay says, “They are on both sides of us, and we are in a spot where one’s needed.” The town is looking for businesses to provide a variety of retail goods to their residents, as they remain reminiscent of the long-gone old-time department stores.

In the residential arena, townhomes have emerged as a sought-after option, particularly for homeowners looking to downsize or simplify their lifestyle. With residents preferring low-maintenance living, these properties sell rapidly.

Trently notes the housing inventory in Archbald is exceptionally scarce.. “Rental properties, especially in older parts of town, are also highly sought-after. Developers are currently constructing a variety of housing options to cater to the community’s needs, with a strong emphasis on single-family homes.”

The median listing price for a single-family home in Archbald, PA, is $250,000. The median number of days these homes stay on the market is 115 days, and the average listing price per square foot is $152.

Senator Rosemary Brown and State Representative Kyle Mullins have secured millions in funding for Archbald. Recently, the borough received an additional $2 million to address stormwater issues and repave surfaces. Archbald’s existing infrastructure—water, sewer capacity, and electricity—is well-prepared for growth. However, it expects to reach the development limit, despite the sizable area. Dulay states, “Resource conservation zones and a quarry occupy 1,400 acres, which will restrict further expansion.”


Beamed Internet, Recycling, and Unsettling Taxes

Residential developments approaching the 30-year mark have underground utilities, so Archbald relies on innovation to update the infrastructure for 2024 and beyond.

Skypacket, a line-of-sight Internet service, has vied with dial-up and DSL for 15 years. Interestingly, it beams the internet to your home, not from a satellite, but from prime points within the municipality. GigaPower, a new fiber optic provider, is installing a new data option.

Environmental sustainability is a top priority for the Borough of Archbald, and it actively promotes recycling to the public. The borough publishes a recycling calendar to guide residents on specific recycling weeks and practices. However, the landscape has shifted in Pennsylvania, particularly in Lackawanna County.

Previously, the local recycling center used county inmates as labor, enabling the borough to recycle for free. The inmates’ safety concerns led to a shift. Now, paid employees sort through commingled materials, with each municipality charged $60 per ton. This contributes to state grants, supporting ongoing recycling efforts, equipment acquisition, and educational initiatives. Along with home ownership comes taxes.

In Pennsylvania, the Borough Code dictates the maximum property tax millage a borough imposes. Municipalities, including Archbald, near that limit.

Surprisingly, the county has not reassessed property values since 1968. Dan Markey, Manager of the Borough of Archbald says, “They started it a few times but as it nears completion, elections happen, and new county commissioners come in and they put a stop to it.”

The law of thirds assumes a third of the property values will increase, a third will decrease, and a third will stay the same. Assessments for homes built in recent years are correct but are overtaxed compared to their neighbors a quarter mile down the road. Even with extensive remodels, those neighbors may receive $500,000 for their property, but the assessments for their homes remain at $12,000—figures from 1968.

Lackawanna County has one of the highest median property tax rates in the United States, ranking 477th out of 3,143 counties. The median property tax in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is $1,954 per year for a home with a median value of $137,100. On average, this amounts to 1.43% of a property’s assessed fair market value.

Recent lawsuits forced the county to address reassessments, which are now underway. Completion will start an appeal period. State law requires that tax millage remains revenue-neutral for two years following reassessment. Only then can the borough consider adjusting taxes. With that lengthy wait time for tax revenue, the borough must seek other avenues for support.


It Takes a Village—Archbald Partners

“It takes a village” is true in every sense when expanding a municipality. Partners are needed to provide funding, vision, and manpower.

The Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Corporation (SLIBCO) contributes to Archbald’s economic development. “We collaborate with SLIBCO to secure grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, enhancing our borough’s marketability,” states Markey.

While the Community Development and Economic Committee (CDEC) builds volunteerism and supports events like the Archbald Police Department’s annual National Night Out, it is also the new business liaison, assisting enterprises entering the area.

Archbald wants the CDEC to work with the Scranton Chamber of Commerce to pinpoint the businesses desired in the region. The closest hospital is 10 miles away in Dickson City and there is no other hospital on the other side of us until Honesdale, 30 miles away. Markey says, “Archbald is a great place for a hospital or medical facility.”

Accessing these partners in the coming year is vital to the municipality’s development.

Markey’s focus for 2024 includes stormwater infrastructure, road paving, equipping the police department, and building a new salt shed for the growing borough. The town secured $401,643 in funding from two Local Share Account grants, to be used towards a Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Hopeful and optimistic, Archbald anticipates a future where progress, community, and natural beauty thrive, ensuring a legacy that echoes through generations. As the town continues to expand, it remains committed to preserving its unique features, from the world’s largest glacial pothole to the tranquil Lackawanna Valley landscape.

Archbald continues to adapt, learning from the past, embracing the present, and looking towards a future filled with potential.


Archbald, Pennsylvania

WHAT: A fast-developing borough guided by invested community leaders.

WHERE: Lackawanna Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, U.S.A.



Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce –

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s premier business organization, the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, includes 1,500+ member companies of various sizes and types. through its economic development affiliates, The Scranton Plan and SLIBCO, the Chamber strives to attract, sustain, and grow businesses and job opportunities in the region.

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