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October 10, 2013

Funding requests include gym, doughnut shop

NEW CASTLE — A doughnut shop, a gym and a banquet center.

These are just three of eight proposals submitted to the city of New Castle seeking some state funding.

Matthew Staniszewski, the city’s community and economic development director, presented the proposals to city council at its work session Tuesday and listed the pros and cons for each.

The eight are asking for some of the remaining money from a Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant. The original amount of the grant — designated for the downtown area — was $5 million, but only $373,867 is remaining to be reallocated, Staniszewski told council.

The total requested for the eight projects ranges from $488,500 to $498,500.

Following are the eight proposals:

•Tim May and Anthony DiThomas, a request of $50,000 to $60,000 for a doughnut shop. They are seeking a downtown location with a drive–through window.

May, whose family owned May’s Donuts, wants to start a new shop using the original recipes. Charles Burrelli and his son, Michael Burrelli, bought the name and recipes from the Mays in 2009.

In August, Charles Burrelli was fatally shot and his son has been charged in his death.

According to information provided to council, the May family is waiting for the estate to be settled before determining a budget. The total project cost is currently unknown.

The estate was not identified. An attempt to reach May was unsuccessful.

•Antonio Romano, a request of $50,000 to renovate property at 124 E. Washington St. — formerly King’s Jewelry — for an athletic club and gym. The total estimated project cost for phase one is between $250,000 and $300,000.

•Kim Cioffi, a request of $48,500 for repairs to Germani’s Jewelry, 39 N. Mercer St. The total estimated cost is $62,500.

•Nino Riccio, a request of $90,000 to renovate part of the old post office building on Kennedy Square for a banquet hall. The total estimated cost for two phases is approximately $700,000.

•Susan Papa, a request of $50,000 to renovate a building at 41 N. Mercer St. and lease spaces to prospective businesses. The total estimated project cost is $100,000.

•Tom Stickle. An amount to be requested is currently unknown. Stickle is proposing to create a business that would dismantle homes on a demolition list. Any reusable items would then be sold at his business. A location has not been determined.

•Dennis Joseph, a request of $50,000 for Pudgy’s Bread. Joseph is seeking the funds to acquire property and expand his business. The total estimated project cost is $150,000.

•Citywide Development Corp. of New Castle. A request of $150,000, which is the total estimated project cost.

The proposal consists of an incubator to house three or four businesses at a location to be determined.

The city is in the process of creating the corporation which will serve as an umbrella organization for economic development and neighborhood stabilization.

Staniszewski advised council that the city needs to decide on how it wants to allocate the money within the next couple of months.

Council asked him to give his recommendation on the most viable projects. He said Wednesday he has been reviewing the projects with the staff and mayor, adding he believes with the mayor and council “we will be able to devise a good plan moving forward.”

He said the grant expires in the first quarter of 2015.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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