City Council Forges Ahead on Boat Launch Project

The proposed boat launch project in the City of Warren was a hot topic at Monday's City Council meeting.

WARREN, Pa. – The City of Warren is pushing ahead with a proposed boat launch at the base of Liberty St. in downtown Warren.

The funding proposal was discussed in detail at Monday’s Warren City Council meeting and a motion that council considers the proposed resolution of the funding stream for the boat launch project was approved. A total of $1.5 million of the estimated $2 million project cost is already in hand via $1 million from the Development Assistance Capital Program (RACP), as well as an additional $473,575.85 from the City’s Rescue Plan funds and $26,424.15 from the city’s general fund.

City Engineer Chad Yurisic detailed why the cost of the project would be so high, a question that he said has been most frequently asked.

“These are concept plans only for purposes of applying for grant funds,” Yurisic said. “City staff will hold stakeholder meetings to get input from businesses and different user groups.”

Included in the proposal are key elements for the project such as access roads, boat trailer parking, passenger car parking, greenspace, lighting for security a concrete ramp and retaining walls.

“Access Roads will need to be constructed. Also, parking spaces for these vehicles are needed adjacent to the ramp,” Yurisic said. “Passenger cars will need parking spaces. These spaces will also be available for patrons for businesses across the street. Sidewalks, ramps, curbs and crosswalks will be necessary for pedestrians and for ADA accessibility.

“Lighting is also proposed to provide security. It has also been recommended that retaining walls be built.”

City Planner Vince DeJoy detailed the positive economic impact the boat launch would have on the community.

“The Allegheny River is our most valuable nature-based asset. This new boat launch will be a regional asset that will have a positive impact on the city and county,” DeJoy said. “Dave Sherman from the Visitors Bureau was kind enough to share a study that showed Warren County had $190.2 million in total tourism spent in the county. We want to expand upon that tourism further.”

The remaining $500,000 for the project would come from the American Rescue Plan Act funds, an amount the city has petitioned the county for and would be necessary for the completion of the project.

“This project will ultimately lead to more jobs and further brand Warren County as an authentic and original experience,” DeJoy said.

Jim Decker, President of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, and Dave Sherman, Executive Director of the Warren County Visitors Bureau showed their support for the project as well.

“We’ve talked about the need for water access within the city. It’s a high priority for our organization,” Decker said. “It’s also a top priority for the Trestle to Trestle Task Force. We see it as an opportunity to expand the outdoor recreation activities that exist all around us.”

Added Sherman: “I think if you pay any attention to what’s going on on this river, the escalation of the activity on the river supports this endeavor. We hear it every week ‘Where’s a good boat launch?’ This would provide another option for putting and taking out. We wholeheartedly support this project.”