It's not as simple as finding the easiest location and plunking down a floating dock.
The Leadership Warren County team investigating the possibilities of a downtown Warren boat dock have plenty of questions that are in need of answers.
The group has proposed a floating dock that will provide a put-in and take-out location downtown with quick access to shops and restaurants. The dock would be in the water from before Memorial Day until after Labor Day each year.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Barb Tubbs of Warren Public Library looks at a satellite view of a proposed downtown Warren dock during a meeting Thursday evening at the library’s Slater Room intended to generate public comment for the team of Leadership Warren County students driving the project.
They expect many of the thousands of paddlers who ply the waters of the Allegheny River through Warren to stop - at least to use a restroom.
The members are keeping the proposal simple for the time being. "Safe, secure, easy to maintain, and meets code," Todd Bowersox said. Their proposal calls for a 10-foot-by40-foot aluminum structure. Future upgrades could transform that into a replica river raft that would not only look better than aluminum, but speak to the city's timber industry roots.
The team sought some help finding answers by holding a community input meeting Thursday night at Warren Public Library.
A small group of stakeholders, including residents and business representatives, provided the team with food for thought.
A resident suggested that boat access with a road leading to the water's edge at a spot deep enough to accomodate craft that draw more water than a canoe or a kayak would be a major improvement.
If all the little questions were answered, the one big question would be too: Where should the dock be placed?
The group proposed four locations along the northern bank of the river. They are numbered one to four from west to east. Site one is west of the Hickory Street Bridge. Site two is just east of the bridge, below Soldiers and Sailors Park. Site three is near the Breeze Point gazebo. Site four is at the end of Liberty Street near the Clark Street Garage.
There is a survey at the group's Facebook page where guests can rank each location on a variety of potential concerns. Visitors are asked to consider things like the scenery at each location, restroom access, and the slope of the bank.
The survey is intended to get people thinking and maybe bring new ideas to the team. "We're just looking for input," Steve Sigmund said.
"We'll be posting updates and we'll have an electronic link to the survey as well," Mary Hagan-Double said.
The group members suggested that their next public meeting include a walking tour of the proposed sites to give those in attendance a better idea of the challenges surrounding each location.
No matter the location, there was no doubt from anyone at the meeting that people paddling on the river and the city would both benefit from the dock. "I cannot find a downside to this project," William "Buzzy" Bussoletti said.