The Downtown Warren Partnership hosted the most recent Leadership Warren County group and Dan Glotz, county planning director, at a Wednesday morning meeting held at Vita Bella Italian Caffe.
Chuck Gray, a member of 2014 Leadership Warren County, encouraged those attending - representatives of several downtown businesses and restaurants - to participate in "Virtual Warren." The Virtual Warren website will include historic and retail information about downtown businesses and a GPS-enabled video docent tour of historic sites.
Downtown entities are encouraged to prepare a three- to five-minute video to include on the website. A six-minute video with touching narration by Piper VanOrd (owner of Warren's Allegheny Outfitters and coordinator of the annual Allegheny River Clean-Up) and picturesque footage filmed by Jeremy Jeziorski was shown to the group as an example.
Gray said to include in videos a "history of the building," people who lived there and "a present day moment," she said, "what you're achieving."
Downtown businesses and historic sites may be able to gather historic information from the Warren County Historical Society, Gray suggested.
With the help of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the information will be compiled in a comprehensive website that will eventually use QR (Quick Response, or matrix) codes so people can use mobile devices to access information. The site also will include a centralized community calendar with event links and a history slant, Gray explained.
"People can send in their own photos" to the site, Gray said. The possibilities "are endless."
The group hopes to eventually include the entire county in the interactive information project. Entities can contact Gray for more information at email@example.com.
Dan Glotz described "Walkable Warren" progress. In conjunction with Warren's many designations (the Pennsylvania Rt. 6 Alliance's heritage corridor, PA Wilds partnership and the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage corridor), Farley Wright of Experience, Inc., came up with an idea that would highlight Warren's exceptional features - the historic downtown, many parks and the Allegheny River just to name a few - by making Warren pedestrian and bicycle friendly, Glotz explained. Plans include bike racks and kiosks with historic information at various locations to link the Bike-Hike Trail and downtown streets to the Transit Authority of Warren County (which now sport some bicycle racks on their buses), Breezepoint Landing, the downtown and Betts Park. They have applied for a grant to build the first four kiosks.
Todd Bowersox of Allegheny River Fly Fishing Company has spearheaded efforts to publish a "Eat, Stay, Shop, Play" brochure of downtown Warren shops and restaurants. The brochure will cover retail, restaurants, arts, museums and lodging businesses and will include a map. Businesses interested in participating should contact Bowersox.