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March 10, 2014

City to seek funds for parks plan

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle plans to seek state money to develop a master plan for three recreation areas.

The areas include Cascade Park, Gaston Park and the Deshon complex, all of which are adjacent to one another.

New Castle will partner with Lawrence County in submitting a joint application to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to include a master plan as part of the county’s Greenways and Trails Plan.

City council is expected to consider adoption of a resolution later this month authorizing a cooperative effort with the county.

The application deadline is April 16.

Matt Staniszewski, the city’s community and economic development director, said the site master plan — to be developed by a consultant — would include the possible consolidation of the three areas into one recreation destination.

It would also include recommendations for park development and recreation, protecting green space and potential funding for implementing the recommendations.

The county invited municipalities to participate in the joint application and set a deadline of Feb. 21 for them to say whether they were interested.

Doniele Russell, shared Greenways and environmental planner for the county planning department, said Ellwood City, Union Township and Wampum responded in addition to New Castle.

DCNR requires a 50 percent local match. The city’s share has yet to be established, Staniszewski said, since the total amount of the grant has not been determined.

Russell said consultants are working with the county to determine how much to apply for.

The county, she said, will be providing in-kind services such as mapping, education and outreach, which will lower the city’s match.

The outreach component includes public participation and an online survey, she said.

Noting that it’s a competitive state grant, Staniszewski said that through the collaborative effort “we’re definitely strengthening our likelihood for success. It also lowers the cost to the taxpayers since we’re sharing resources.”

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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