Two members serve on both of the volunteer boards.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Among the members of the newly formed Lawrence County municipal and redevelopment authority are familiar faces and new faces with familiar names.
Members met recently to organize, and in some cases, get acquainted. They shared their views about the future of Lawrence County.
John Caminiti, 65, of New Castle is a former member of New Castle and Sharon redevelopment boards, and a retired community development director of Sharon.
Caminiti agreed to serve on both boards, and quickly emerged as the leader. He declined to chair the municipal authority after the redevelopment authority members, which met first, chose him as chairman of that board.
He said he enjoys community involvement and looks forward to both boards' having an impact.
Members spent much of both meetings hearing legal explanations from Atty. John Gerhold, Lawrence County's bond counsel, about the workings and responsibilities of both boards. In simple terms, the redevelopment authority can assist municipalities and townships in reclaiming developed but idle land, what state and government officials refer to as "blighted."
The municipal authority assists municipalities and townships in new development projects.
With Caminiti and Jon Natale serving on both boards, the members decided to meet monthly on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the commissioners meeting room at the courthouse. The redevelopment authority will meet at 1 p.m. and the municipal authority at 2 p.m. The boards will next meet May 28.
If the redevelopment authority meeting runs longer than 60 minutes, the municipal authority meeting will begin when the redevelopment authority meeting concludes.
Natale, 35, of Shenango Township is operations supervisor for Pennsylvania-American Water Co. He has lived in several places big and small across the country, and chose to return to New Castle.
"This community has given me a great opportunity to grow up and pursue many challenges and goals," Natale said. "I truly believe it is my duty to give back some of what I've gained."
Natale said his family is prominent in the area and he wants the name to continue. He said the New Castle area is underrated by outsiders and there are a lot of "highly trained, hard-working people" in the area whom many people don't know about.
He hopes both boards can keep New Castle and Lawrence County progressing, and in some cases, pull the area into the 21st century.
Sees great need
John Razzano, 82, of New Castle is chairman of the municipal authority. He is self-employed and a former New Castle city councilman and former chairman of the New Castle Development Authority.
He said there is much work to be done in New Castle and Lawrence County and he wants to remain involved.
"Forming the municipal and redevelopment boards is something that should have been done here years ago," Razzano said. "Hopefully, we can produce some results."
Edmund Retort, 62, of Edinburgh is a retired superintendent of Mohawk schools. He said his knowledge of bond issues from serving as superintendent should be helpful to the municipal board, and he is very interested in beginning to see how the municipal board can work in the community.
"Right now, I'm just learning," Retort said.
An enthusiastic Dennis Alduk jumped right in with questions as soon as the redevelopment authority meeting began. Alduk, 52, of Neshannock Township, accepted Lawrence County Commissioner Roger DeCarbo's invitation to serve on the redevelopment authority board because he wanted to serve the community. He said members of both boards will work together in a cooperative effort between the boards and other municipal and county officials.
"I've lived all my life here and I want to see things move forward," Alduk said.
Also on the board but absent from the meetings are Frank Telesz and Pat Aromando of the redevelopment authority, and Jerry Senchak of the municipal authority.