Council gives backing to veterans housing at St. Francis hospital
New Castle News (PA)
Jun. 28--Councilman Richard Beshero wants to be proved wrong. So do the other members of City Council.
Now it's time for developer Charles Everhardt to live up to his word.
In a 5-0 vote, council last night approved the conditional use request of New Castle Real Estate LLC to create the New Castle Community Wellness Center -- a long-term senior housing, nursing home care and private school for veterans on the former St. Francis/Jameson South campus.
Everhardt said approximately $12 million will be spent on site rehabilitation. He purchased the property on South Mercer Street from UPMC for $25,000.
"They came up with a solution and came up with conditions that I'm OK with, as far as it moving forward," Beshero said.
"I think Mr. Everhardt thought he'd come into community just because he was going to say he was going to throw $10 million at us, and we're just going to rubber stamp everything. That's just not the way it goes.
"Do I think he's going to pull it off? No. I hope he proves me wrong. I would be more happy eat my words for this project."
City solicitor Jason Medure worked with Everhardt to fine-tune the proposal to comply with city zoning regulations. That work earned the appreciation of council.
"And I think that the city -- with the help of Mr. Medure and working with the developer -- has come up with, I believe, a good, sound agreement that all of us can live with," Councilman Tim Fulkerson said.
"Now, the challenge is for the developer to hold up his end of the deal. I'm hoping that the developer keeps his word the way that he says he is. He's heard it from more than one city official, and that we've been taken before and we're not going to be taken again.
"And I think that he got the message loud and clear."
He added that the job creation, building permits, construction and tax revenue are a plus for the city.
"So Mr. Medure, I personally want to thank you. I think you did a yeoman's job of bringing this agreement together in such a short period of time. But you took care of the citizens of the city of New Castle in this deal. So thank you, Jason."
Councilman Paul Stefano noted the project had seen quite a journey.
"The original plan was quite different from the plan that was presented to us, which was also different than the plan we saw this past Tuesday.
"I hope it works. I believe it will. We need the investment."
Medure said that the educational component of the project has to comply with federal regulations, including the GI Bill, for enrollment.
Council President William Panella expressed support for Everhardt.