By Erika Watson
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – The current New Kensington mayor will not seek reelection in the upcoming mayoral election in order to focus on promoting the region.
According to a March 15 article published in the Valley News Dispatch, Mayor Frank Link has decided to remove his name from the ballot, opting not to seek reelection for mayor. After eight years as mayor and many more years working in public service, Link said that he wants to focus on promoting the region, not just New Kensington.
“I know that if we want to keep moving forward, we have to do it, not just as New Kensington, but as a Northern Westmoreland region,” Link said. “We need to by attracting businesses and homeowners, getting some of the stimulus money, and getting where we’re going with that. We need to do it from a regional standpoint because it’s a much stronger standpoint.”
Link talked about merging the cities of New Kensington, Arnold, Lower and Upper Burrell together.
“New Kensington and Arnold have a real good base foundation,” said Link. “Upper Burrell has the open land, and Lower Burrell has more residential to offer. You bring all of those together, and those entities will work together.”
Link knows that this is not a process that will happen overnight.
“I think if you talk to the political ear, they all agree that we should merge,” he said. “But if you put it on the ballot, I don’t think you could get all the entities to do it. I think right now, you could get New Kensington and Arnold to merge, and we’re going to work towards that by the end of the year.”
Councilman Tom Guzzo, who is running for the title of mayor this election, did not disagree with the idea but said that the first step in realizing this goal would be to have the cities share services before merging completely.
Both Link and Guzzo said that redevelopment and expansion of the city was important for its future. Guzzo said that redevelopment is one of the main things he will focus on if or when he is elected mayor.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we have torn buildings down that were an eyesore for the city,” said Guzzo. “We have encouraged and have been able to bring businesses to New Kensington, and we are very encouraged by the fact that we have just opened Westmoreland Community College. We believe that we can build off of that, attract even more businesses and more industry in the downtown area.
“And that’s what our goal has been all along,” he added.
According to the earlier mentioned March 15 article, Link’s withdrawal from the election means that there is no one contesting Guzzo for the position of mayor unless an organized write-in candidate comes along.
Guzzo is currently the Director of Accounting and Finance for the council and works with the budget.
“I sort of have to be the watchdog of the finances that come in and out of the city,” he said. “That’s a pretty big role in terms of making sure that there is enough money to pay for everything, especially now.”
Guzzo said he wanted to run for mayor because he wants to build upon what’s happened in the past and turn his thoughts into action.
Link was first elected as mayor of New Kensington in 2001, and he was reelected to that position in 2005.
“Running on the second term and being an incumbent helped a lot,” said Link about his second term. “We were successful in what we were doing. People could see that we made commitments, and we were pulling through those commitments.”
Link served as athletic director for Valley High School for five years before retiring in 2005. Prior to that, Link was chief of the police in New Kensington. He said he had been involved in public service since 1971, which is something he contributed to him first being elected as mayor.
“My job with the police department helped immensely because number one: the police department’s budget is the largest budget in the city; and number two, safety is always a concern of the citizens,” said Link. “I had firsthand knowledge of that.”