New Castle News

April 12, 2013

Our Opinion: Cascade Center initiatives may entice followers

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — For years, the name Warner and the city of New Castle have been intertwined.

That’s because the historical record indicates Warner Bros., of film fame, got its start showing movies in this community.

The precise site is along Mill Street in the building now called the Cascade Center at the Riverplex, a structure that has — shall we say — had its ups and downs over the past decade or so.

This appears to be one of the ups in that cycle, with word the building will house Warner Film Center, a nonprofit museum that will showcase New Castle’s link to the movie entertainment industry.

The film center is to be on the first floor of the building, while Refresh Dental will occupy space on the second and third floors. Meanwhile, efforts reportedly continue to entice other businesses to the site, including restaurants in spaces that previously housed the Mill Street Grille and The Basin.

All in all, it’s envisioned this project will put a couple hundred workers in downtown New Castle.

That’s obviously a plus for the city. Not only will the added employment in the downtown be an asset, but the new facilities will entice others to the area.

More than anything else, downtown New Castle needs foot traffic and old-fashioned business activity. The more of it there is, the more likely other businesses will follow and fill storefronts.

Unfortunately, that’s far easier said than done. There is business activity in the downtown. But a lot of it is done sitting in vehicles at drive-through facilities. There’s no foot traffic when people don’t even get out of their cars.

Furthermore, the presence of Refresh Dental and the Warner Film Center in the downtown can’t be counted on to solve the downtown’s problems. Quite simply, running any sort of business in any downtown such as New Castle is a constant challenge. There are stiff headwinds, ranging from taxes to perceptions of parking problems to a widespread reluctance — that we think is meritless — to patronize downtown businesses.

Challenging negativity about the downtown needs to be a big part of restoring business to the area. Downtown businesses need to work together in that regard. And they need to work hard to attract customers, because anything less will prove costly.

Downtown New Castle has assets. Visitors will see how public resources have been spent to improve the area. But they also will see lots of empty buildings.

We hope the coming activity at the Cascade Center will have the effect of turning the economic corner for the downtown. This sort of good news is definitely needed.