With strong mandate, Wentzel looks forward to work ahead | PostIndependent.com

With strong mandate, Wentzel looks forward to work ahead

For New Castle Mayor Bill Wentzel, his victory in Tuesday’s election over challenger Larry Borgard was a vote of confidence.

Wentzel garnered a total of 331 votes to Borgard’s 169.

“It’s a strong statement by New Castle citizens that they’re pleased with what their government has accomplished over the last six years,” Wentzel said Wednesday.

Wentzel has served on the town council since 1996 and was mayor pro tem since 1998. He was appointed by the council to fill the mayor’s seat when former Mayor Steve Rippy stepped down to take the job of town manager last April.

But Wentzel was also shocked at the wide vote margin in Tuesday’s polling.

“Frankly, I was surprised that we won so decisively,” he said. “I got about two-thirds of the vote.”

“It’s almost a mandate that (voters) want the council to continue forward on the course it’s established,” he said.

Borgard said he was comfortable with the outcome of the race.

“What will be, will be,” he said Wednesday. “If it was meant to be, it would have happened.”

Wentzel said council plans to build Mattivi Plaza, the next phase of the downtown redevelopment plan, this spring and summer. The project includes improved intersections and landscaping on New Castle’s Main Street.

With $20,000 from the town budget and a $100,000 energy impact fund grant from the state Department of Local Affairs, Wentzel said the town will install brick paving and landscaping in front of the historic Mattivi Garage at Third and Main.

Also included in the plan are brick crosswalks and “elephant ear” street crossings, which bulb out into the street to create safe islands for pedestrians.

Wentzel also wants to get to work on a master plan for parks and recreation development.

In February, the town council signed an agreement with Castle Valley Ranch developers Eric Williams and Steve Craven. They will donate open space in the subdivision to be developed as parks.

Wentzel said the council needs to prepare a master plan not only for development of trails and parks in Castle Valley Ranch, but also recreation opportunities throughout the town.

“We have got a lot of young families and they need recreational areas,” he said. “It’s one of the main focuses of the council.”

Also slated for this summer is upgrading Burning Mountain Park in downtown New Castle.

“The town is committed to rebuilding it,” Wentzel said.

Besides replacing the playground equipment, Wentzel said he’d like to see the park reorganized. He’d like to bring the playground out of the back corner and move the basketball courts.

“We’ve built a pretty good working council” over the last six years, Wentzel said.

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