Having more than you need isn't always a good thing.
With more than 20 parks, a multi-parcel location for an on-again-off-again proposed convention center and more than one unused lot or building, the City of Warren's property holdings are beginning to pile up.
As a result, some think it may be time to divest.
"Sell properties that are not being used for the public good," City Council member Sam Harvey suggested at council's Nov. 19 meeting.
Aside from concerns with property use, government-held unused properties have another drawback. They are exempt from property taxes.
The property at the southeast corner of the Liberty Street and Pennsylvania Avenue intersection in downtown Warren belongs to the city along with an adjacent property.
While the property is still being used to place trailers associated with Northwest Savings Bank's expansion project, the agreement for site usage will eventually expire.
"Those items are certainly up for us to divest ourselves," Mayor Mark Phillips said.
The city, Phillips noted, also owns over 20 parks, many of which are not being actively used or are only small property parcels.
"Every year the City Council has asked if there are parks that could potentially be divested," Phillips said. "Annually, that's an issue that we've looked at."
Phillips pointed out the use of some parks is limited for the city. Some parks had usage restrictions as a condition when they were originally gifted to the city.
"Keep in mind, I'm not advocating selling Betts Park or anything," Phillips emphasized. "It think we would be wise to consider letting some of the unused ones go."
Phillips also pointed to a city-owned sewage plant that could potentially be sold.
The plant, according to Phillips, is due for major upgrades. He noted Pennsylvania American Water has contacted the city about acquiring the property in the past.
"Making that transaction would allow the city to avoid those costs," Phillips said.
The apparent crumbling of city plans for a hotel and convention center also left properties behind. While the convention center authority is now defunct, the city still owns the properties on Clark Street.
"It's something, I think, that is worth putting out to bid," Phillips said. "Let anybody and everybody who wants to make an offer. The city, as far as I know, has no plans for that parcel. It has always been intended for the development of a convention center."
Warren Hospitality Associates has an active ground lease for the Clark Street site with a listed term running through late 2037. Warren Hospitality, a group affiliated with Tim King's Warren Development Group, was a private partner in the effort to develop the convention center.
Assistant City Manager Mary Ann Nau reported at City Council's May meeting, the lease had been given to the city solicitor for review.
While new City Manager Nancy Freenock said no official decisions on the fate of properties have been made by council, she noted one of her goals in the new year will be to urge action on unused properties.
"It's one of the things I'm pushing for," Freenock said.
According to Freenock, she will be urging council to form a committee to take a look at all city properties and determine how they can be used or whether selling them is feasible.
According to Phillips, "I would advocate the city divesting some of these idle properties."