The future can be bright

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DSCN1180Yesterday offered as uplifting and energizing an event as ever I have attended in Warren. Graduate and undergraduate students from Kent State University’s architecture and landscape architecture programs came to town and presented their ideas for Warren at the WJ Wean Foundation building downtown. The students had spent the entire semester studying several sections of Warren: the peninsula (which they are calling the Market Street River District), the Garden District and the area around the west side’s AmVets Park.

More than 20 students, including two from Warren (Rueben Shaw II and Elliot Killen) presented impressively well thought out ideas which were beautifully rendered in photos, drawings and 3-D models. They, along with several of their professors, gave us brief oral presentations of the ideas, and then we were able to move from station to station talking to the students responsible for the individual ideas to learn the reasoning behind their concepts. They had all put many hours of research, including multiple trips to Warren, into their work. Most of them know a lot more about Warren than the average resident, and more importantly, they have a far higher impression of the city and its potential than the majority of residents. It wasn’t humanly possible to leave that room without believing in the future of Warren. Of course, we’ll have to actually work on implementing the ideas.

If you missed the event you can stop in the TNP offices at 170 North Park Avenue and look at the displays; most have enough text attached to them to make them self-self-explanitory. I especially enjoyed seeing the customized street signage and traffic signals that give Warren a uniques branding element. The reimagined SCOPE offices that include retirement living and senior exercise facilities in terrific. A remodeled Reeves Apartment Building becomes a neighborhood anchor instead of the decaying eyesore it is today. There are terrific ideas for kayaking and bicycling storage and facilities. There is a model of what a much-needed community fitness center might look like.

DSCN1175They have detailed and inventive ideas for improving vacant lots that any citizen could adopt tomorrow and plug into TNP’s “Lots to Love” program which offers a $6000 per lot budget for realizing the Kent students’ vision. I can’t say enough good about the work these student did on behalf of the people of Warren; it deserves your attention. [The Trib has a good article and photos today of the event.]

Before March when I announced my independent candidacy for Mayor of Warren, I’d have ended this post with the previous paragraph. But I’m in it to win it as they say. If you don’t want my political take on this please stop reading now.

Unfortunately, the only elected Warren official to attend (all were invited) was retiring 4th Ward Councilman Greg Bartholomew. I did not see his successor in the crowd, but could have missed him. Tony Iannucci, who leads WRAP, which owns much of the peninsula, attended, but many people one might think would be interested in this sort of event were conspicuous by their absence, in particular Doug and Enzo, and Mike Keys. If you ran this city wouldn’t you at least be interested in seeing what the largest educational institution in our area came up with as redevelopment ideas for the city?

But this project was organized by TNP and Doug and Enzo prefer to pretend they alone have a voice in what our collective future holds. TNP’s activism only serves to highlight their inactivity in shaping a future for Warren.

There was considerable expense involved in producing the displays and models the students produced and these funds were donated by my campaign Treasurer, Cloyd Abruzzo, who is a KSU alum.

Enjoy the additional photos of the event below.

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Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2015 under Blight, Garden District, Vacant homes, Vision, Warren strategic plan.

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