Panel considers city green spaces; two areas targeted

The City of Warren Parks and Recreation Commission met Tuesday afternoon to formulate notes and recommendations on city green spaces.

The information will be forward to city council’s property committee as they evaluate whether to divest of some green spaces around the city.

While many sites are not suitable for remittance due to geography or underlying conditions of use, commissioners did agree to recommend two areas for further discussion by council.

Commissioners discussed Clemons Park noting discussions are ongoing with the Elks Club to transfer maintenance of the site.

City Parks and Recreation Director Mary Ann Nau reported a member of the club had approached the city about an agreement in which the club would assume maintenance responsibilities in exchange for a $1 lease. The member will be taking the proposal to the club’s board meeting and then contacting the city to discuss the possibility.

A space at the end of Fourth Avenue was discussed for sale.

According to Nau, residents near the green space may be interested in splitting the property. City Public Works Director Mike Holtz pointed out the area is a non-building lot due to utility lines running beneath the property. If the usage restriction prevents sale of the space, commissioners recommended consideration of giving the park away to move the space onto tax rolls and eliminate city maintenance responsibility.

Both properties were recommended for council action.

Possible buyer interest at Mulberry Park was discussed.

A private resident, according to Nau, is interested in buying part of the property including a portion abutting wooded areas abutting Glade Township and an area further into the city.

“I’d be concerned about what he’s going to do with it,” Commission Chairman Dennis Crandall said. “I guess it’s up to city council what they want to do with it.”

The city could not sell the property outright if council decided to divest it, it would have to be awarded by bid.

Lacy Park was discussed as well due to maintenance cost concerns.

Crandall asked, “Shouldn’t anything that needs done out there, shouldn’t the (Lacy) foundation handle it?”

“That’s what the foundation was formed for,” Nau said. “I think if we had a list of things that needed done…”

Holtz pointed out the site is subject to a surprising amount of vandalism, and bocce courts and ballfield facilities at the site are in need of rehabilitation.

Maintenance concerns at DeFrees park were also discussed.

It was noted the Chief Cornplanter Council of the Boy Scouts of America has expressed interest in maintaining the park and using it as part of council programming.

Notes and concerns on all three sites were forwarded to the property committee, but none were recommended for outright divestiture.

Other green space discussed but rejected as divestable properties included Beatty, Betts, Breeze Point, Crescent, Celeron, General Joseph Warren, Liberty, Morck Square, Pennsylvania Avenue Parkway, Point, Soldiers and Sailors, Washington and Wetmore Parks.