(New Castle, PA) — The efforts of DON Enterprises, Inc. to continue revitalizing New Castle’s Lower East Side neighborhood received a giant boost earlier this week. Governor Tom Wolf announced recently a total of $550,000.00 in grants for two Elm Street projects DON is undertaking. Earlier this year, DON was awarded an Elm Street Designation for New Castle’s Lower East Side from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, one of only two Elm Street Designations in the entire Commonwealth.
A grant of $500,000 will be used for phase 2 restoration of the Wright Building (formerly housing Clark’s Furniture) located on East Washington Street. The plans for this five-story building are for mixed-use purposes and include nine fully accessible two-and three-bedroom apartments on the upper three floors of the building, retail space on the first floor and a multi-purpose community space on the second floor. The development grant is specifically targeted to repoint the building’s masonry and to restore the unique, white porcelain façade which features intricate brick and statue work. The Wright Building once stood as a gleaming, tall beacon, offering railroad passengers and other travelers overnight accommodations as they made their way through the New Castle area. With the assistance of this development grant, the building’s exterior will be entirely restored.
A second grant awarded DON $50,000 for the establishment of a façade program to assist at least 10 local business owners whose businesses are located within the Elm Street-designated Lower East Side near the 300 block of East Washington Street. The highly visible and well-traveled East Washington Street corridor serves as a gateway to downtown New Castle. The businesses which form this corridor are eligible for the façade improvements. DON will use the funds to coordinate implementation of the improvements. DON’s Elm Street Manager, Kenny Rice, explained, “The timely receipt of the Keystone Communities Program façade grant will make an immediate and tangible contribution to the revitalization efforts in the Lower East Side’s business corridor. The hard-working, small business owners dedicated to this community deserve this assistance from our Commonwealth.” Business and storefront owners located in the Lower East Side neighborhood interested in applying for façade improvement assistance can contact Janice Hassen at 724-652-5144 x 215.