Council endorses Walkable Warren

Warren City Council has given its blessing to Walkable Warren, a project that will seek to connect, via existing infrastructure, assets in Warren to draw people in.

The project would lay out corridors, with kiosks to share information and bike racks where needed, that would guide people to utilize historical, business, restaurant and other downtown resources.

“We’ve been at this project since 2008,” Area Agency on Aging Director Farley Wright told council on Monday. “Perseverance tends to bring results.”

He explained that “Warren is amazingly rich with assets. With the architecture and assets of a community this size, we need to bring people in, invite them to enjoy what Warren has and invite them to spend money.”

“We’re not asking the city for money,” he said. “The infrastructure is there.”

Wright explained that the project is “very low cost” and focuses on “directing people to utilize the specific route we want to encourage them to take.”

“This is designed to be no cost to the City of Warren,” said County Planner Dan Glotz. He acknowledged the city’s assistance might be needed as far as signage and bike racks but said that they have “been seeking grant funding to bring all these pieces together.”

Glotz explained the route, which would link many of the historical, recreation and business opportunities in the city. “Every route we look at has a sidewalk,” he said. It would also drop in from the bike/hike trail that connects Warren to the North Warren area.

He also noted that other groups might be willing to take control of various aspects of the project, such as the proposed river landing discussed by a Leadership Warren County class. “We’ve got a lot of groups out there that want to come to the table and take a piece of this and develop it on their own.”

Councilman Jim Zavinski asked whether there are plans to extend the current bike/hike trail.

“Our long-range plan is to get to the New York line and link up with Chautauqua County Rails to Trails,” said Glotz. He noted that laying trail “is a long, hard journey to lay out each mile.” He said that they have identified “some potential routes that could get us to that point. We built the trail in phases. That’s probably how it would continue as it travels north.

“All that we’re looking for is your support of the project,” he added.

“You’ve done a lot of work and we appreciate it,” said Mayor Maurice Cashman. “Where we can help out, just come back and ask. We’re here to help.”

A motion to endorse the project was passed unanimously.