NEW CASTLE Work to begin on projects

Council wants fire officials to review the city's fire prevention laws.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Construction is scheduled to begin in May on three downtown revitalization projects that have been in the works for eight years.
City administrator John DiMuccio told city council Tuesday the projects will go out for bids in April, and construction should be completed by year's end.
The improvements encompass revitalization of the Grant Street Park, between Mill and Mercer Streets; landscaping a parking area between Mercer and Mill streets and along Neshannock Creek; and building River Walk Park along the Neshannock Creek near Jefferson Street.
DiMuccio said it will take about a month for the bidding process to be completed.
He said River Walk Park will include a platform area for concerts and other events. The parking area at Mill and Mercer streets will have a landscaped area incorporating a portion of the creek that will be patterned after a similar site in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The projects are all part of the city's ongoing downtown revitalization.
Fire prevention
Because of the recent nightclub fire in Rhode Island that claimed 97 lives, council also wants to review city fire codes.
DiMuccio said he would try to get the fire chief and others together to discuss the need for any possible changes.
He said he would try to have the fire chief and other officials involved with fire prevention and inspections at the March 11 council meeting.
Council also discussed zoning and the planning of designated historic districts. DiMuccio said designated historic areas downtown have restrictions on what type of improvements can be made.
He said business owners who participate in the building facade renovation program have to adhere to strict guidelines, and getting them to do so is sometimes difficult.

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