WARREN, Pa. – City Council’s action to maintain Breeze Point Landing as a greenspace Monday night may have thwarted the proposed hotel development in its current form but didn’t remove the concept of a downtown hotel entirely.
In fact, Councilman Phil Gilbert said specifically before he made the motion that he’s “not against the hotel, just the location.” With Breeze Point off the table as a potential location, the city intends to find alternate locations for development.
“The City will look at other locations and, I believe, that the WCCBI’s Trestle to Trestle group will as well,” City Manager Nancy Freenock told yourdailylocal.com.
Both Gilbert and fellow Councilman John Wortman said during Monday’s meeting that they had received numerous emails from city residents opposing the hotel project at Breeze Point. Both cited that as one of the reasons they voted to maintain Breeze Point as a greenspace.
“The constituents that I am elected to represent, do not support this endeavor,” Wortman said. “I have received too many emails to count about this project, and not one single city resident has emailed me saying that it was a good idea. This is contrasted with the dozens of emails opposing the project from the people I took an oath to represent, and serve.”
Wortman said he’d like to see all interested parties come together to work on an alternate development plan going forward.
“Moving ahead, I hope that all of the interested parties can be brought together and find a solution to how to increase Warren’s tax base and increase foot traffic within the business district,” Wortman said.
One of those parties is the current developer, Hanes Hotel Development, LLC out of St. Marys. Freenock told yourdailylocal.com last month that one of the reasons the proposed project selected Breeze Point was other potential sites, such as Point Park, Crescent Park, and the former East and Home Street Schools, were deemed not viable for various reasons.
Freenock said the city will continue to seek other options, even if Hanes were to walk away due to the loss of Breeze Point as a potential development site.
“If the current developer is no longer interested, the City will seek other interested parties,” Freenock said.
Wortman said downtown development is vital to the City’s ability to maintain services into the future.
“Warren City’s economic situation is very dire, and honestly seems to be getting worse by the day,” Wortman said. “More and more jobs continue to vanish from Warren County, which has significant ramifications for the long-term viability of our city. Many of us on Council, lose sleep over how we will provide critical services that our neighbors have relied on for generations. Our police, fire, and DPW departments are incredible. And we must find ways to make sure that our city will continue to have the tax base to support these exemplary men and women.”