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City to hold session to unveil fourth riverfront proposal

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton City of Warren officials will be presenting a fourth concept for the future here - the riverfront at the base of Liberty St. and Breeze Point Landing - during a public engagement session on Feb. 26.

City of Warren officials have scheduled a Feb. 26 to present a design – the fourth unique proposal – for the transformation of Warren’s downtown riverfront.

The public engagement session is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Allegheny Community Center.

“We are inviting all folks that are interested and have a stake in the boat launch,” City Manager Mike Holtz said.

A “concept for a boat launch,” he said, will be presented at that meeting.

The meat and potatoes of the presentation will come from City Engineer Chad Yurisic.

The city’s first concept included a boat ramp cut into the bank that directly entered the river.

That design has changed.

“It’s not a ramp,” Holtz said, who instead called it a “new river access point for watercraft.”

The city isn’t ready to reveal the design but Holtz said it will encompass the same footprint at the base of Liberty Street.

“We got the results of a mussel survey,” Yurisic said. “We’ve had to adapt the concept. We can’t encroach out into the river like we had originally proposed. So the new concept will be constructed without encroaching into the riverbed.”

He described the design as a “hybrid” between the city’s initial proposal and two put forward by the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry.

The design will accommodate both motorized and non-motorized – canoes and kayaks – kinds of watercraft.

“We’re trying to put in a water access point that will accommodate as many users as possible,” Holtz said.

A total of $3 million has been allocated to the project from a variety of sources.

Holtz said the new proposal should fit “within the same cost as the other boat launches.”

Some of the funding, though, has timelines on when it needs to be spent.

“We think we are still able to hit all of our funding timelines,” Holtz said, but he argued that there is a need to “wrap up the concept and get this to design very quickly.”

How quickly? Six weeks.

“The permitting is going to take a while,” Yurisic said, estimating final design and permits at a year and then another year for construction.

He said that the permitting would be easier if the design doesn’t encroach into the river.

City officials are encouraging anyone interested to attend the Feb. 26 session.

“We want as much attendance as we possibly can,” Holtz said. “We’re interested in hearing from everybody.”

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