You could call it the Big Blue Money Pit and you probably wouldn't get much argument from members of the Warren City Council, who are looking at a projected $84,000 loss on the Clark Street Garage in 2013.
The garage, which was erected to rather mixed reviews as the first bit of Impact Warren, the umbrella project that would ultimately include Streetscape and plans for the Allegheny Center for the Arts and a hotel/conference center, has never realized the potential promoted by its planners.
Plagued with construction flaws, saddled with an inefficient system of occupancy, and the butt of countless jokes, the Clark Street Garage has become a monkey on Council's back.
The top deck can't be used in winter; some 90 parking spaces can't be used because of a recurring rust problem; and 20 more spaces are just simply vacant.
So, what can be done?
We're not sure whether some of the theoretical options offered by Councilman Sam Harvey were an attempt at black humor or simply intended to give some depth to the city's dilemma: "Can we sell it? Can we lease it? Can we let it fall down?"
Unfortunately, all indications are that the city is stuck with the $10 million skeletal fixer-upper. Can you imagine the real estate ad? For sale: three-level parking garage. Needs work. Encumbered by governmental red tape through 2017.
The city seems to have a tar baby on its hands. Closing it would only increase the annual losses, and removing it would be even more cost-prohibitive.