Planners certify blight status of former Players Club

The City of Warren’s Planning Commission certified a blight designation for a prominent Water Street property on Wednesday.

The board acted against 128 Water St., a former church and site of the Warren Players Club. “The property is sitting there in a state of disrepair,” Director of Codes and Planning Randy Rossey said. “(We) believe the inside is still full of the stuff the former owner had.”

Commission member Ray Pring, who also serves on the city’s blight panel, said they head anecdotal evidence of people trying to access the property. “I’ll confirm that,” Commission member Randall Gustafson said, indicating that to be a problem for the neighborhood.

Rossey said the Department of Public Works is in the process of securing the structure.

He told the Planning Commission that the new owner of the property — who purchased it in Dec. 2022 — had plans to turn it into apartments or a short-term rental property. “Unfortunately, being a commercial building, (the project) may have involved more than he was willing to partake in,” Rossey said.

“Unfortunately, this is not an untypical story,” Commission member Michael Lyon said where someone buys a dilapidated building, realize they made a mistake and “throw their hands up in the air.”

“There’s at least some hope there” for future development of the parcel, Gustafson said, citing its waterfront access. “I think this has at least the potential.”

He said the masonry on the existing structure is in rough shape and that structurally “it has significant problems.”

Commission member Elizabeth Raible called the structure “kind of an iconic building…. It’s unfortunate.”

The property now moves to the Redevelopment Authority who will be tasked with working to resolve the blight issues.

The commission took a similar action against 206 N. Irvine St.

Street vacation approved

The commission also approved vacating an alley right of way adjacent to Eddy St.

Rossey said the adjacent property owners signed the petition to ask the city to give up the alley. It’s 20 feet in width and will add land to each of the adjacent parcels.

“This is probably one of the larger alley vacations that the city has had a request for,” Rossey said.

He added that the alley is a grass strip and that adjacent property owners have been caring for it.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today