PITTSTON — Mary Kuna has big shoes to fill as she takes on the role of the city’s new Main Street Manager.
Kuna, 30, fills the role left vacant by Rose Randazzo, who relinquished the title last summer to focus on her family and other projects.
Randazzo’s responsibilities were divided among other city volunteers such as Sarah Donahue, Lori Nocito, Mary Kroptavich and Joleen Lazecki.
Pittston City Mayor Mike Lombardo is enthusiastic about Kuna, and says she could be how NFL quarterback Tom Brady was early in his career — greatness in waiting.
“We get to get what I would say is Tom Brady-esque,” he said. “New England didn’t know that when they got him, it just happened. But, Mary comes here with great credentials and I think the beauty of her story is that it’s somebody that wants to come back to the area.”
Kuna was raised in Pittston Township and graduated from Seton Catholic High School in 2005.
She attended The University of Scranton and the University of Delaware and spent her time working in areas such as Boston, Massachusetts; Newark, Delaware; Bethlehem, Mechanicsburg, and Carlisle.
Through her travels, she realized there was no place like home.
“They didn’t have the history or community that Northeast PA does,” Kuna said. “I didn’t appreciate it when I was the ripe old age of 6 through 17 but, as an adult, I see it and I value it.”
What brought her home was a visit to the former Art on Main gallery earlier this year with her sister, Lizzie, who was thinking of opening a coffee shop in the space.
The sisters met with Lombardo and Kroptavich, whose photo studio occupies the back of the former gallery.
Prior to their meeting, Kuna was working as the Economic and Real Estate Development Manager in Cumberland County. It was her knowledge in that field of work that immediately captured Lombardo’s attention.
“Mary Kroptavich sets this meeting up and we’re having this conversation about this coffee shop,” he said. “(Kuna) gave me her contact information, and it was her card from her other place of employment and then this light bulb went on. She said she wanted to come back here, so that was already in the back of my mind and then, when I saw her card, I thought she had great credentials.”
Lombardo has since hired Kuna to work as the Deputy Executive Director with the Redevelopment Authority, but it’s her role as Main Street Manager that will get her public recognition.
She’s already met with organizations such as the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, the Pittston Memorial Library and the Art Walk organizers.
Kuna will soon make her way around to the businesses on Main Street.
“That’s on the list of things to gather through,” she said. “Right now, it’s been wading through the operations here at the office and understanding how it all functions and where some things can be improved.”
Kuna is also open to assisting events such as the Tomato Festival, Paint Pittston Pink, St. Patrick’s Parade and others with anything they need as they all operate on Main Street.
“My goal would be to reach out and talk to them to learn a little bit about what they need, and I’m willing to volunteer at every single event,” she said. “I’ll probably be there as a volunteer, but it’ll be wherever they need me. If they want me at meetings with all of them from the city perspective, I’ll do that.”
Kuna started her new role less than two weeks ago and knows she has a laundry list of things to do to get acclimated in her new role.
“What’s next is to understand a little more how this operates, but just put together some things I’ve learned over my years,” she said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher