New Castle News

December 21, 2013

Top 10 Stories, Number 9: County still recovering from storm

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — It was one of the more severe storms to hit Lawrence County in recent years.

Around 4 p.m. July 10, wind and water swept through the county, knocking down trees and wires and causing flooding.

Perhaps the major event of the storm was a tornado touching down in the North Beaver Township/New Beaver Borough area. It demolishing two barns, a shed and machinery and uprooted trees. However, there were no reports of injuries.

But the effects of the flooding, which caused damage to streets and other public facilities in New Castle, Shenango Township and South New Castle borough, continue to be felt.

According to an assessment made soon after the storm, damage totaled $1.6 million. The assessment was made after representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency toured the damaged areas.

FEMA initially denied the state’s application for financial aid, but after the state appealed, the agency declared 10 counties, including Lawrence, eligible for assistance.

Damages in the city alone have been estimated upwards of $1 million. Because damage to some streets on the South Side and Lower East Side was considered severe, the city received bids to have them paved.

Matthew Staniszewski, the city’s community and economic development director, said the city is in the process of seeking reimbursement for work done on those streets.

As for other streets, he said the city’s engineer has recommended advertising for bids for them.

“Then we’ll have a cost to provide to FEMA and PEMA. We’re being proactive to get the ball rolling.”

In addition to construction costs, the city also is seeking reimbursement for man hours used to clean up after the storm.

In Shenango Township, John Krueger said several roads, culverts and lift stations were damaged.

Krueger, the township’s emergency management coordinator, said, “Right now, we’re still crunching the numbers with the project manager for FEMA.”

He said some things have been permanently fixed and some temporarily repaired. He said a lot of the items will probably be advertised for bid.

Krueger said the township would be seeking reimbursement for man hours, equipment and materials used.

Greg DelPrincipe of RAR Engineering said South New Castle is submitting a request to FEMA for $100,000 worth of damage to cover road department labor costs, outside construction costs, equipment and material.

Flooding, he said, mostly damaged culverts.

The county also is seeking some assistance to pay for damage that debris caused near the jail, according to county administrator James Gagliano.