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RDC hears updates on Firestone site, former Yukon

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Firestone clean-up and downtown dress-up were topics of this week’s New Castle Redevelopment Commission meeting.

Firestone site

Slowly but surely, the former Firestone plant site on 25th Street is being cleaned up. Wednesday, the RDC Board voted to increase funding for the effort. Clerk-treasurer Christy York said $1,400 has already been spent there.

“Until it’s completely cleaned up, I think we will continue to have invoices,” she said.

The RDC decided to earmark up to $3,500 additional for the Firestone clean-up, meaning that a total of $5,000 in local funds will be spent on the effort.

Mayor Greg York said progress was being made.

“We’ve got a semi load of tires sitting there to be hauled off and we’ve got to remove two boats,” Mayor Greg York said. 

The site has been in and out of local news headlines consistently since 2016.

More help for former Yukon

Rose City Partners, represented by Mike Broyles and Scott Frost, have discovered rehabilitation of a once locally iconic Race Street building will be more difficult than anticipated.

“We’ve got the side torn off and we knew there might be some tuck pointing problems,” Broyles told the RDC. “Well, we ran into some major problems with the building.”

Broyles said a contractor discovered brick is bowed out in portions of the building. The contractor suggested not only brick repair but straightening up walls and “tuck-pointing” the entire building.

Broyles originally thought total cost of the rehab would be $15,000 but now he’s thinking it may be closer to $25,000.

“Such is the life of old buildings,” RDC President Bill Aichison said.

Since the RDC had already authorized up to $25,000 in funding, Broyles’ presentation was regarded as an update only and required no action.

Located at the corner of 11th and Race streets, The Yukon Restaurant remains a place of pleasant memories for many. While the restaurant is long gone, the building will receive an improved look as Frost and Broyles plan to remove the white siding and highlight the brick underneath.

The building is now headquarters for the Henry County Libertarian Party. An apartment upstairs will also be redone by building owners.

Other business

The RDC also:

n Heard from New Castle Main Street Director Carrie Barrett, who said donations were being accepted in honor of moms for the “Blooms on Broad” Mother’s Day celebration. A total of 30 flower pots will be planted in May and will require watering and maintenance throughout the spring, summer and fall. The annual cost for planting and maintaining the pots is estimated at $5,000. A $150 donation to “Blooms on Broad Street” will include a Mother’s Day card, social media acknowledgement and special thanks on the organization’s website. Tax-deductible donations can be made at at newcastledowntown.com.

n Barrett also told the board the first “Fourth Friday” event is 5-8 p.m. May 24. Arts, music and food will be featured from Main Street all the way to 15th Street. 

n Christy York informed the board that the RDC’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) report due April 18 was filed on time. It is available online at the Gateway website.

n Mayor Greg York updated the board on the 1400 Plaza Project, which continues to be slowed by weather. He said brick would soon be added to the restroom building now up on the site. “It’s got a very distinct footprint to it now,” York said. “If the weather will cooperate, we should have it done in six weeks or so.”