City officially closes door on convention center

The idea of a convention center in downtown Warren has been dead for several years.

Warren City Council has now buried the remaining vestige of that effort.

During Monday’s regular meeting, council unanimously voted to formally dissolve the City of Warren Convention Center Authority.

Solicitor Andrea Stapleford told council that council created the authority in July 2008 and noted that it was created as an entity that August.

While, she noted, the authority was to be in effect for 50 years, council approved the authority’s recommendation in October 2012 to go to inactive status after it “failed to get funding” for the proposed convention center at the base of Liberty St. along the Allegheny River.

Stapleford said at that time the board resigned, that there has been no further “discussion or activity” on a convention center and no reason to believe “there will be such in the future.”

An ordinance subsequently unanimously approved by council formally dissolved the authority.

In September 2009, the City of Warren entered into a contract with Warren Hospitality Associates, the owner of the former Loranger building on Clark Street where plans were in place for “the construction and development of a 74-room hotel and convention center,” according to the contract.

The Times Observer previously reported that authority members said their main purpose in not disbanding the group earlier was to try to recover funds.

Without a significant funding stream, the authority relied on the generosity of the city to pay its bills.

When the Authority members resigned, council accepted responsibility for the authority’s debts, totaling approximately $9,600, accepted the resignation of the authority’s three members and enabled the city manager to discontinue the authority’s insurance policy.