WARREN, Pa. – City of Warren officials made their pitch to the Warren County Commissioners during Monday’s commissioners’ work session for $500,000 for the proposed Breeze Point Landing Boat Launch.
A total of $1.5 million of the estimated $2 million project cost is already in hand for the project, which would be at the base of Liberty St. A total of $1 million is coming from the Redevelopment 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.
The $500,000 from the county would come from the American Rescue Plan funding. The U.S. Department of Treasury needs to provide further funding guidance before a final decision is made.
“The project involves more than just a simple ramp into the river, said City Engineer Chad Yurisic. “In order to minimize congestion, we will need an access road. The roadway will need to be improved as well as the small dogleg between the parking garage and Clark St. Parking spaces are also needed. These parking spaces will also be available for patrons of businesses across the street. Sidewalks will be necessary for ADA accessibility and greenspace is proposed to improve aesthetics and provide thermal cover. There will also be lighting to provide security.
“The ramp will be constructed for motorboats and canoes/kayaks. It’s also recommended that retaining walls be built to hold back river bank.”
Yurisic was one of several officials representing the City of Warren at the meeting, which included Mayor Maurice Cashman, City Manager Nancy Freenock, City Planner Vince DeJoy, Director of Public Works Mike Holtz, Council Vice President John Wortman and Councilman Phil Gilbert.
Warren County Chamber of Businesses and Industry CEO Jim Decker and Warren County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Dave Sherman were also in attendance to show their support for the project.
“There are so many potential businesses that this boat launch has a chance to impact,” DeJoy said.
Commissioners Jeff Eggleston, Tricia Durbin and Ben Kafferlin were very receptive to the proposed project but did raise a few concerns, one of which was parking.
“One of my general concerns is the parking issue,” Eggleston said. “If you convert all of these to trailer spaces, that entire area is completely packed most nights. Is it the intention to have other people park there?”
Added Cashman: “I have a mantra that says, ‘if you don’t have a parking problem, you have a problem’. I agree, the parking down here gets a little jammed. Our focus is to make it convenient and we will work toward that end. As we work toward all of this, I think it’s a win-win.”
Gilbert also added that ‘the parking garage is free on weekends and evenings.’
“In the event we do receive some clarification that this project is eligible from American Rescue Funds, whatever we have to do, we have to have the best and biggest impact on the community,” Durbin said. “We all want to make sure that we’re using every dollar that has the largest impact on the community.”
While far from a done deal, both the city and county alike recognize the potential positive the proposed project could have on both the city and county.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for the city and county to partner,” Wortman said. “The monies that we are going to receive from the federal government need to be invested on long-term projects that have a shelf life. I think broadband is a perfect example and essential to the survival to Warren County,” noting the push for broadband internet in the county. “I think we have an incredible opportunity before us and we hope that you’ll join us.”