It’s been five years since the city of Warren funded the $185,000 Poggemeyer Design Group’s Revitalization Strategy, and while there seems to be little disagreement that implementation of the plan would move the city in the right direction, there has been little traction in accomplishing it.
For years we have expressed frustration with delays in the plan’s adoption, and now the Resident Advisory Committee appointed in 2012 by city council to help move the ideas forward, is growing equally weary.
It was 2009 when the Poggemeyer Design Group offered the report entitled “Recreating Warren: 2009 Revitalization Strategy” as an answer to many of the city’s problems. City officials had promised to implement the report’s findings when the report was commissioned and released.
In 2012, the Resident Advisory Committee, or RAC, introduced 10 recommendations based on the plan, including these: initiate a professional marketing program; improve the Packard Apartments; form an education and medical district; rehabilitate the Robins Theater; save the Saker Mansion; expand the bike trail; find a condo developer for the Riverside peninsula; establish a farmers market; develop downtown apartments and develop the former Mahoningside power plant property.
Certainly, the goals are lofty. But to make a lasting impact, they should be nothing less than lofty.
The group this month expressed its frustration at the lack of support from council. RAC’s chairman said the group has been “depressingly unsuccessful in getting any of these recommendations adopted by elected officials,” adding the members are “batting zero” on adoption of their recommendations, except for those funded by state or federal money.
We feel their pain.
Many years have gone by and still no one has taken the bull by the horns.
Clearly there is a huge disconnect between the plan’s intent and the people that should be implementing it.
The plan indicates the ultimate responsibility for implementation of the recommendations lies with city council, and council attempted to accomplish this with its well-intentioned appointment of RAC. (And the committee should be commended for the effort and care it has put into the project.)
It’s now apparent, however, that council members cannot even agree on the role of the group, with some implying the RAC is getting out of control.
Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, may have made the best suggestion when she said council’s strategic planning committee needs to meet with the RAC and work out a plan for what can be accomplished most inexpensively.
The mayor has been adamant there will be no addition of a city planner position to accomplish the goals. Of course we agree.
There are people already in place to develop these projects, and the mayor is among them. It’s his vision and leadership that are needed to help push this plans to the next level.
We’ve said it before: stop debating how to do it and just do it.