File photo by Brian Hagberg.

Council Asked to Pull Support for Senior Living Project

May 17, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – Opposition to the proposed downtown senior living project was voiced during Warren City Council’s meeting on Monday.

In fact, Dave Winans spoke during public comment and voiced his opinion that the project should be scrapped altogether or moved to a different location from the current site at the vacant corner lot at Pennsylvania Ave. and Liberty St.

The developer, Hudson Companies, has stated that they expect construction to begin in August.

“The purpose of the building has changed significantly from the beginning,” Winans said. “It was supposed to be a building for people over 55, active seniors they called it. Now it’s low income for people over 62 years old. Nothing against low-income housing, but in this instance, I don’t think this is needed in our community. Right now, many of our low-income housing have vacancies, they don’t have waiting lists.”

Winans had support in the form of Councilwoman Wendy McCain.

“What we’re hearing from the community is that everyone wants what’s best for Warren County,” McCain said. “We’re in a tough situation. At the same time, we want Warren to be vibrant and take advantage of organic growth that has started.”

Mayor Dave Wortman, while not disagreeing with the position, noted the potential difficulty of pulling the plug on the project.

“It’s a difficult position to come to this body and ask to pull the plug on a private entity that legally acquired the property,” Wortman said. “But I understand completely where you are coming from and respect your opinion.”

Winans also argued that the building doesn’t conform to what is trying to be achieved in the downtown area in terms of riverfront development.

“In my opinion, we are going to get a large, ugly building that does not conform with the rest of downtown,” Winans said. “I think there is little if any economic benefit to our downtown. There are going to be people there that don’t have a lot of money to spend.

“I know that we’re well into this project, but the deal is not done. Maybe there is another place that could be found for them. I would love to see the council withdraw their support.”

McCain also asked for the withdrawal of support to be on the agenda for the council’s next meeting, which is slated for June 19.

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