A city resident whose wife and young daughter were seriously injured when a tree fell on them in Cascade Park in March spoke to New Castle city council on Thursday to ask for a change in the way the park is maintained.
“This is a difficult subject,” said Anthony Palumbo. “I hope I can get through this. I don’t know if I can. I’m going to try.”
On March 29, a tree segment, nearly 40 feet long, broke off due to high winds and struck Palumbo’s 35-year-old wife, Diane, and their 2-year-old daughter, Sia, before pushing the pair into Big Run Creek.
“Jumping on my son and protecting him from a fallen tree and waiting for myself to be crushed by that tree is something I hope no one ever has to go through in their entire life,” Palumbo said. “Coming to from the tree falling on me and seeing my daughter floating face down in the water and my wife drowning is another thing I hope nobody ever has to experience.”
Anthony pulled Sia out of the water and Diane was rescued by the firefighters. The couple’s son, Enzo, was unharmed.
Diane was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Youngstown Hospital with a shattered clavicle and scapula, collapsed lung and a fractured spine and Sia was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with multiple skull fractures and a brain bleed.
Palumbo said he watched the council’s meeting in the days following the accident but saw none of them had spoken about his family.
Palumbo then went on to discuss the condition of Cascade Park as his experience as a general manager at the 220-acre Youngstown Country Club for four years gave him insight on the conditions trees and tree canopies must be in to stay safe.
“I know to maintain tree canopies. I know how to identify problems in trees. I know how to control erosion. All these things were part of my job,” he said. “I’ve seen almost none of this being done at Cascade Park.”
He even offered to be a part of the solution to solving the issues he arose.
“Again, I’m not here to chastise,” he said. “I’m here to help. I hope this is the beginning of something that leads to this never happening to someone again.”
All members of council offered their thoughts and prayers for the Palumbo family, and Mayor Chris Frye noted he sent the family a card after the accident to which Palumbo thanked him.
Councilman Bryan Cameron, who is a part of the public works committee of the council, said this topic had been raised during one of their recent meetings but said he’d be lying if they had come to a solution.
Councilman Tim Fulkerson also offered to hold a benefit dinner at his banquet hall, The Henry, downtown free of charge whenever the family liked. All of the food, Fulkerson said, would be donated, and all the money raised would go directly to the family.
Nearly four months after the accident, Palumbo said both Diane and Sia have “a long way to go” physically.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family has raised more $45,000 to date.
In other news:
•Council rejected amendments to its impounding and towing ordinance that would have raised fees in the city-owned impound lot. Council did authorize the mayor to go out to bid for the lease of the impound lot.
•A request from the New Castle Transit Authority to allocate matching funds totaling $200,666 for a grant application was approved.
•A lease agreement with United Way for the continued development of the former Cascade Park pool was denied.
•The mayor and city controller were given the authorization to enter into a lease/purchase agreement for two 2020 International 10-ton trucks with winter accessory package for the public works department. The two trucks plus accessories totals $298,103.60. The city will be financing the purchase.