New Castle News

Closer Look

May 9, 2014

New Castle selected for Blueprint program

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle has been selected to participate in the Blueprint Communities Initiative.

In announcing the selection, Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo said, “This is a step forward and serves as a catalyst for the work ahead for us next year in rewriting our comprehensive plan for New Castle 2025.”

The next comprehensive plan will run from 2015 through 2025.

Matt Staniszewski, community and economic development director, called the selection “a major accomplishment and great, new beginning for the city,” adding a municipality has to be invited to even apply for consideration.

New Castle is one of seven municipalities in Pennsylvania to be selected.

The program, he said, will help New Castle develop a plan to revitalize properties in certain areas of the city and will open up funding possibilities.

New Castle was selected by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and Penn State Cooperative Extension Service, according to Staniszewski.

He said the initiative will focus on the downtown business district, adjacent neighborhoods, the South Side business district, Mahoningtown and certain industrial areas and brownfields along the Route 422 corridor, which serves as a primary gateway into the city connecting Interstates 376 and 79.

In addition, it will include Routes 18 and 168 that serve as secondary corridors into the heart of the city.

The initiative takes into account physical, economic and social needs, Staniszewski said.

A committee will be involved in the entire program from beginning to end, including implementation.

Joining Mastrangelo and Staniszewski on the panel are Dale Turner of PNC Bank; Stephanie Dean, city business administrator; Kimberly Koller-Jones, executive director of the Hoyt Center for the Arts.; Tom Scott, chief executive officer of Lawrence County Community Action Partnership; Councilman Richard Beshero; Gayle Young, Lawrence County United Way executive director; Robert McCracken, executive director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

Staniszewski said the committee will work with the Downtown Center, the Federal Home Loan Bank and additional consultants that may be brought in.

He said the program is typically limited to municipalities with populations of 15,000 or less. New Castle was able “to carve out specific census tracts that would most benefit” from the program.

The Downtown Center said the technical assistance and consultants available through the initiative are valued at $37,000, according to Staniszewski.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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