To Keep Or Sell

The City of Warren Parks and Recreation Commission will be evaluating a list of ‘passive’ parks this month to determine which, if any, should be sold.

Passive parks are much smaller than ‘active’ parks, such as Beaty Park and Crescent Park, and can consist of anything from a single field to a tiny ‘green’ area such as the land between the street and a sidewalk.

At the commission’s meeting Tuesday, Director Mary Ann Nau said, “I would like to see the commission weigh in on these parks. If we have to give up or downsize some of these parks… Perhaps we need to take a serious look at them and make a decision as to which parks can be moved into the category of ‘sell’ to get rid of the cost of maintenance.”

Nau also expressed her desire to develop a comprehensive plan that would help gain “the opinion of the community.”

The list of passive parks includes:

Boulevard Park on Fourth Avenue;

Celeron Park on Pennsylvania Avenue, which was established in 1795;

Clemons Park at Hickory Street and Fourth Avenue, which has deed restrictions;

Fourth Avenue Park on the river side of Water Street;

Gen. Joseph Warren Park, which was also established in 1795;

Levee Park, which is part of the flood control project by the Pine Street pump station;

Liberty Mall, the site of the downtown Santa House;

Morck Park, which has historical background for its 13 Dutch Elm trees and marks the beginning of the Bike/Hike Trail near Seventh Avenue;

Pennsylvania Avenue Parkway across from Gen. Joseph Warren Park;

Point Park, which has restrictions due to Project 70 funding stipuliations;

Reier Park, the strip between Conewango Avenue and the Conewango Creek;

Washington Park, which is Warren’s largest park at 65 acres;

Wetmore Park, which is located at Fourth Avenue and Market Street and is maintained by the Warren Garden Club.

Committee member Kirk Johnson voiced his concern about getting rid of parks based on his prior experiences in other cities. “Once you (the city) lose that land to development it’s very difficult to get it back when they decide they want it,” he cautioned.

Since 1997, based on a comprehensive list compiled that year, Betts-Jackson, John Carbon Memorial, Memorial Park, Schofield Park and portions of Crescent Park have been sold. The only addition to that list has been Lacy Park, which was acquired from the Warren County School District in 2001.

Currently, Clemons Park is the only park that has the potential to be returned to the family that donated it, due to deed restrictions.

The commission will meet a month early, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, to discuss members’ findings as well as a proposed comprehensive plan for the management of city parks including the pool and skate park.