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Commission dismisses boat launch application

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton City of Warren staff will be headed back to the drawing board on how to fund a proposed boat launch project on the riverfront in downtown Warren.

A proposed downtown boat launch is projected to come with a cost of $2 million.

City staff aimed to fund $1 million through a Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission grant.

That grant has not been awarded.

“Upon further review of the project proposal, it was discovered that a well-established boat launch facility already exists less than one mile downstream of the proposed location, at Betts Park,” Mike Parker, communications director for the Fish and Boat Commission said. “The existing access has a very large parking area and provides adequate access to meet demand in this section of the Allegheny River therefore this application was not recommended for Commission funding.”

During Monday’s Fish & Boat Commission meeting, 24 of 26 boating facility grant awards were approved throughout the state.

Warren’s was one of two left out.

City Manager Nancy Freenock called the decision “disappointing” but insisted that the idea of the launch is “not dead. We will have to re-strategize.

“City staff will follow up to determine how to present the project in a better light in the hope of gaining funding in the next round.”

The idea was to place the dock at the base of Liberty St. given its proximity to nearby business and access to the city’s downtown commercial district.

Back in March, council approved an additional grant application to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for $250,000 for the project.

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