Business View Magazine | December 2018

338 339 of money through the Governor’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital (RACP) program,” she reports. “That’s what we used to buy the Riverplex; we got a $5 million grant and were able to fix a bridge downtown, renovate the Police Department and a parking garage; we did a couple of local parks; we also got money to put a pedestrian/bike trail through downtown that’s going to connect with different trails.The city has also been selected as a Qualified Opportunity Zone; it’s a new program where people can invest in these zones and receive federal tax credits.And we have a 34-acre industri- al site that we’re trying to purchase.We’re meeting with the State Department of Environmental Pro- tection and Department of Community Develop- ment.That would be big for the city.” NewCastle is also working to update its housing stock by clearing blighted areas and working with community partners to help rehabilitate existing homes.“In the first ten years I was here,we demol- ished over 300 residences,” says Mastrangelo.“This year we’re going to demolish another 61.”“We’re using our CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds to demolish dilapidated houses,” adds Gibson.“In addition,we use general funds, funds from the county, and funding from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, another non-profit corporation, for demolition. Also, the city received two $300,000 HOME grants to do homeowner-occupied rehab.” The Disability Options Network (DON) is a non-profit that works to empower people to live independently, and it plans to renovate seven houses on the city’s lower east side.“DON is doing a lot of work, turning that neighborhood around,” says NEWCASTLE, PENNSYLVANIA Gibson.“We’re working with them trying to pave some streets there, and doing some curb cuts up there to help them out.And 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, got an NAP (Neigh- borhood Assistance Program) grant of $600,000 for the next five years and they’re going to be putting it all into the south side of NewCastle.” With a population of approximately 22,250, NewCastle is far from its glo- ry days of the mid-20th century. But with a now stable financial picture, new business moving in, and blighted areas being redefined, there’s no rea- son to believe that that glory can’t be recaptured as the citymoves forward in the 21st.