New Castle News

March 28, 2014

City police officer retirements OK’d

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — New Castle will lose two police officers next month.

The New Castle Police Pension Board accepted the retirements of Cynthia Collingwood and Nathaniel Akins on Thursday.

Collingwood’s retirement is effective Friday and Akins’ is effective April 19.

Akins has been with the department since April 1985 and Collingwood, since January 1989.

Chief Robert Salem said he intends to promote two part-time officers to fill those positions, then ask city council to hire two new part-time officers.

In other matters during city council’s meeting on Thursday ...

•The city of New Castle will buy a property it has been leasing and using as an impound lot.

Council approved a resolution Thursday for the purchase of the property at 28 W. Grant St. from Michael D. Robinson Sr. for $135,000. The city has been leasing the lot for $1,000 a month since last year.

Solicitor Jason Medure said once the city closes on the sale, council will have to adopt an ordinance to accept the deed.

The city will make a lump sum payment of $30,000 and pay the balance of $105,000 at 4 percent interest over 48 months.

The city anticipates recouping its cost from fees collected from the impoundment of vehicles.

Last year, the city realized about $29,000 from the lot, which did not begin operating until nearly May, according to business administrator Stephanie Dean. So far this year, the city has realized about $9,000, she said.

Most often, the cars impounded are involved in criminal cases.

•New Castle will join the county in seeking state funds to develop a master plan for three recreation areas.

City council adopted a resolution Thursday to partner with the county in submitting a joint application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to include the master plan as part of the county’s Greenways and Trails Plan.

The three areas in the city to be included are Cascade Park, Gaston Park and Deshon complex.

Donielle Russell of the Lawrence County Planning Department, called the joint effort “a groundbreaking precedent for the entire state.”

She said Ellwood City has passed a similar resolution and Union Township is expected to participate in the application as well.

DCNR requires a 50 percent local match. The city’s share has yet to be established. The county will be providing in-kind services, which are expected to lower the city’s match.

•The city of New Castle will advertise for bids to pave streets this year.

The list of streets is short, given the limited funds available to the city. Streets to be paved with city funds include:

•Delaware Avenue — Elizabeth Street to Hillcrest Avenue, includes stormwater repairs

•Gardner Avenue — Moravia Street to the second gate at New Castle Recycling

•Elder Street — Scott Street to Ray Street

•Ash Street — Scott Street to Ray Street

•East Main Street — Scott Street to Ray Street

Swansea Street from Liberty Street to a western dead end is optional and will be included if funds are available, according to Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo.

The city has $200,000 in its capital improvement fund for the streets.

Four other streets will be paved with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are:

•Moody Avenue — Delaware Avenue to Neshannock Boulevard.

•Locust Street — West Winter Avenue to the bend at Jameson Hospital.

•Paul Street — Butler Avenue to Franklin Avenue.

•West North Street — Lowry Street to Greenwood Avenue.

Mastrangelo said the city has been informed that FEMA has approved approximately $150,000. The city has yet to receive the money.

The money is the result of the city’s application for federal aid following a storm July 10 that caused severe flooding and damaged streets.

Matt Staniszewski, community and economic development director, said the FEMA money will be used to cover the costs of some streets that were paved last year and those to be done this year.

The city also is applying to the county for liquid fuel funds to pave West Washington Street from Diamond Alley to the Columbus Innerbelt.

•New Castle City Council has approved a commendation in honor of Arthur R. Zarone.

The commendation states that Zarone had a long career in education and community service “marked by exemplary dedication in the best interests of the community.”

Zarone served as principal at George Junior Republic and Union High School before beginning a long tenure as executive director of the Lawrence County Vocational Technical School, now called the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center.

After his retirement, he was a member of the formation committee for the Lawrence County Learning Center, then was a charter member of its board of directors. He served as executive director of the center from 2001 through 2009.

Sam Biasucci, president of the learning center’s board, accepted the commendation on Zarone’s behalf Thursday. He noted the Butler County Community College provided courses at the center. Biasucci said he believes that served as the catalyst for the college to build its own facility in Union Township.