NEW CASTLE Departing mayor will finish plans



The mayor said he is tired of arguing with council.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Mayor Timothy Fulkerson expects next year to be spent wrapping up projects he initiated in his first two terms in office.
"I'm going to finish as much of downtown as I can before I leave, as well as the North Hill playground project and the [Community Development Corporation] business park. I'm going to work hard to finish those things," said Fulkerson, who announced last week he will not seek a third term.
During his tenure, downtown redevelopment went into full swing, and workers are now working on new streets, sidewalks and utilities downtown in an effort to attract more businesses.
Two terms
Fulkerson, 50, a Republican, was first elected mayor in 1996 in a race against now-councilman John Russo.
"I was the guy who everybody laughed at eight years ago, but I came out and shook hands and visited neighborhoods," Fulkerson said.
Fulkerson said he's proud of his two terms and thinks he could have won a third, but he recently has lost the desire to continue in the job.
He said he wants to spend more time on his construction business and with his family.
"I can see the chemistry isn't there anymore, the way the seats are on council. I just got tired of going to work every day and arguing, trying to make things happen with people who don't allow you to make things happen," he said.
Disappointment
The mayor said he was disappointed by council's reaction to the World Summit of New Castles, an event where 70 representatives from six countries visited the city to learn about business and culture.
Council "literally picked it apart after it was over," Fulkerson said.
Fulkerson also said he was disappointed by comments made last week by Lawrence County Republican Party chairman Norman DeGidio concerning Fulkerson's endorsement of governor-elect Ed Rendell, a Democrat.
"If you don't have a governor as a friend, it's pretty hard to get funding. I don't see what sense [DeGidio's comments] made. It was all personal and political hogwash," he said.
Fulkerson said he hasn't decided if he will endorse a candidate for mayor.
Republican Wayne Alexander and council President Richard DeBlasio, a Democrat, announced last week they are seeking the office in the coming election.

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