Two parking spaces in front of Northwest Savings Bank's corporate offices will be designated as a temporary loading zone in the coming weeks.
A letter from NWSB to the City of Warren said that the bank's construction project will necessitate the closure of their shipping and receiving dock on Pennsylvania Avenue. The letter proposed to set aside spaces in front of the office for the zone, adding that the space would need to be large enough to accommodate medium sized trucks and still provide room for loading and unloading. Larger trucks would be diverted to another point and the letter indicated that NWSB would incur all costs associated with the switch.
The concept met some resistance.
Council Vice-president Maurice Cashman asked whether it would be "better for traffic and your use to use Second Avenue rather than Liberty."
Dale Keeney and Mark McCullough of NWSB were in attendance at Monday's meeting of Warren City Council to respond to concerns and questions.
"We thought about that and it would work," Keeney said of the Second Avenue loading zone. "It would probably require more than one space," he added, noting that the bank wanted to limit their request to one parking space. He said "we don't want to take any more than what we could temporarily need."
"One of the issues with that door over there (on Second Avenue) is that it doesn't go to the first floor," McCullough said, adding that the door opens to a stairwell that has basement and second floor access. He also explained that an additional concern with a Second Avenue loading zone would be security, since many of the documents that the bank sends for destruction include individual customer information which is confidential. He said the packages would have to be monitored because the documents "can't sit on the sidewalk unattended."
Police Chief Raymond Zydonik expressed concern that the Second Avenue option would encroach "on the legal mandate for a 20-foot buffer for a cross walk at an intersection. You're not permitted to park within that distance of a crosswalk." When Mayor Mark Phillips asked which option Zydonik prefers, Zydonik said that he "recognize(s) Northwest's concerns and desires. I would recommend the Second Avenue" option, designating the two spaces on Second Avenue closest to Liberty as the designated loading zone. "You'd probably get less put back and complaints from citizens" because the zone would be "close to the construction area," Zydonik noted.
"If that's what we're going to get, we're going to make it work," McCullough said. "We want to be a partner here," Phillips noted. Keeney then said "if that means more public acceptance, that would work for us."
"If we lose two spots on Liberty and two on Second, what's the relative advantage to do it and hinder the bank," Councilman Sam Harvey asked.
Assistant City Manager Mary Ann Nau said that the city could implement a 90 day temporary designation but recognized the need to do something more permanent. The letter from NWSB said that the temporary zone would likely not be needed by Spring 2014.
Zydonik said that another option would be to implement the 90 day order "and see how it works, if it works." The determination could then be made to issues a temporary permanent zone through the construction phase. Council unanimously decided to adopt that model and set aside two spaces in front of NWSB corporate offices as the temporary loading zone.