United upgrade spurs Council to offer parking

A facility upgrade by United Refining Company has brought about a need for the use of two city parking lots.

Council was presented with a proposal to permit URC to utilize Betts Park and the parking lot at the Warren Municipal Pool to allow for contractor parking during an upcoming shutdown and upgrade process.

Mayor Maurice Cashman said that in past years URC would shut down half the plant, complete upgrades and then shutdown the other half so that only half the plant was closed at one time. He said the upgrade process will work differently this year as the entire plant will be “closed completely for 10 weeks” and, in terms of contractors, “800 to 1,000 people will be coming into this town.”

“Everything that has a bed is already rented,” he said, “but obviously they cannot park all these people down at the plant. So they have asked to utilize… parking lots. My understanding is also, if we have an event, there will be some arrangement” to ensure access to the locations. United will shuttle the workers from the parking lots to the work site.

“Those have been addressed,” Director of Public Works Mike Holtz said.

“A number of entities in the community have gotten involved, making sure people know their way around,” Cashman said. “The Y is opening up their doors. The town will look a little different.”

Councilman Jim Zavinski asked if this would “put a burden on our police department.”

“We have had discussions with United (about) traffic flow and how they will move folks in and out,” said Chief of Police Raymond Zydonik. “I think we are as ready as we are going to be.”

“It is going to make an economic impact,” said Cashman. “We believe that is appropriate.”

Council unanimously approved the agreement, which states that it will be in effect from March 1 through May 13.