Riverfront Development Committee Proposal Withdrawn

Photo courtesy Phil Gilbert - Warren City Council Facebook page.

WARREN, Pa. – A proposal to appoint a Riverfront Development Committee was withdrawn by councilman Phil Gilbert during Monday’s Warren City Council special meeting.

The proposal was made by Gilbert, and the committee would have included fellow council members, John Wortman and Doug Hearn.

“Initially, the vision I had is where Mr. Wortman, Mr. Hearn and I visit a business, talk to them, sort of how the parking committee was formed,” Gilbert said. “There was no agenda, no minutes. That’s what I envisioned this to be, very laid back where we go to businesses and have conversations with business owners and relay what they said back to council.”

The impetus behind the committee would have been discussion about the proposed Breeze Point Landing boat launch but would have included other potential projects as well.

There was concern raised by other council members, however, specifically in regard to the potential for mixed messaging.

“I’ve been somewhat concerned that there could be mixed messaging,” councilman Greg Fraser said. “What they could hear from the three of you could be taken as the official voice of the council and that may not be what the council decides to do. The mixture of messages concerns me.”

Mayor Maurice Cashman echoed similar sentiments.

“I’m not sure that appointing this committee is in the best interest of all,” Cashman said. “My fear is the three of you going down there and talking to them about something completely new that we’re not aware of. I just think you work through the people that we have within the city. This to me, becomes almost like too many hands in the kitchen spoil the soup.

“It gets too confusing in my opinion. I would encourage you to join trestle to the trestle task force and let’s leave it at that. We’re early in this process, by the way. This is all conceptual. If we don’t get the funding approved and this falls apart, I don’t see any objectives?”

Gilbert persisted: “I think it is in our best interests. I think the council should have more involvement with this. Let’s have conversations with them along the way. I feel like this committee would serve a good purpose.”

The only other item on the agenda, the Retention of Special Legal Counsel to assist in negotiations regarding the provision of Emergency Medical Services outside of the city, was quickly tabled.