NEW CASTLE Face-lift takes shape

City officials are offering grants to downtown businesses for improvements.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Work on downtown revitalization is shaping up, city officials say.
Construction on a two-block section of East Washington Street is nearing completion, said John DiMuccio, city business administrator.
Worker are pouring cement sidewalks and intersections which have been closed to motor vehicle traffic for several months. DiMuccio noted that the intersections may be open to traffic by the end of August.
City council also approved the building of two new bus shelters downtown at a cost of $35,725. The shelters will be stone and in the early turn-of-the-century style that the city is using for its revitalization, officials said.
DiMuccio said they expect to start building the shelters next week, also.
The $10 million revitalization project is an effort to bring new businesses and shoppers downtown. New streets, sidewalks, lights and parking are planned.
Grant program
DiMuccio said city officials are also trying to help businesses with a city facade grant/loan program.
Several property owners have shown interest in the $20,000 grant/loan that is forgiven over a 10-year period if the building remains occupied, he said.
"The goal is to have all of the buildings from the diamond to the bridge with a facelift," DiMuccio said.
City council also started eminent domain proceedings for a building at East Washington and Mill streets that once housed Desiree Fashions, he said.
DiMuccio said the city intends to demolish the building and create a small park in the area.

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