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City seeks grant to fund boat launch project

Photo provided by the City of Warren While the hotel location this site plan has been rejected by city council, this schematic still outlines the possible location of a downtown boat launch. The City of Warren is casting a wide net for grant funding to complete the $2M proposal.

The City of Warren continues to explore funding options for a proposed $2 million boat launch project at the base of Liberty St.

During Monday’s city council meeting that took the form of a $250,000 grant application to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

This is the second application filed for this project.

Freenock said council approved a $1 million application to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission in December.

The source of the funding from Fish & Boat could be state or federal money.

If it’s federal money, then the DCNR grant could be used as matching funds. The uniqueness of this situation is the timing. Freenock said Fish & Boat is expected to make awards on Feb. 13, the day before the DCNR grant is due.

Matching funds for the DCNR grant would be included in the 2022 municipal budget.

“If council agrees to this proposed resolution,” Councilman Gregory Fraser said, “are we also committing to a $750,000 line item in our next budget?”

That would be the total needed to match the prospective $1 million award from Fish & Boat.

“I don’t believe so,” Freenock said. “There is another grant due at the end of May where we can request an additional $250,000.”

She said she believes a state funding award from Fish & Boat is “highly unlikely” and if federal funds were awarded then the city could tap into previously awarded state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funds already allocated for riverfront development.

“If we can’t come up with the rest of the funds,” Freenock added, “we could turn the money back.”

She said she’s heard from comments made at the Trestle to Trestle Task Force meetings that there is an “appetite to fund this project via private donations” if the city needs to raise funding.

She also highlighted prospective American Rescue Plan funding that could be used for infrastructure that might be able to be used for this project.

Councilman Christian Zavinski noted that if Fish & Boat awards $1M and the city matches it with RACP funds “in theory we could fund this 100 percent with grants” with the “possibility nothing comes out of the city’s general fund.”

Council unanimously approved the DCNR grant application for $250,000.

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