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Our opinion: Warren’s hotel dilemma

Wendy McCain is a new member of the Warren Redevelopment Authority, but she’s asking a question that’s on many minds regarding a waterfront hotel in downtown Warren.

Is there really a need? Is there a better place?

Similar questions popped up on our Facebook page when we posted a story last week on the hotel possibly taking a step forward.

As it stands now, the owner of townhouses on Breeze Point is willing to donate a parcel which would be combined with Breeze Point Park to create the land necessary for the hotel.

Redevelopment Authority officials last week chose to table the sales agreement after McCain raised her questions. With grant funding timelines breathing down the city’s neck, however, the sales agreement can’t be tabled forever.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said city officials have come to the conclusion that Breeze Point Park is more valuable as a hotel than it is as a park. We wonder, though, how much sense this project really makes when Freenock says later in the meeting that the city doesn’t have the money to do the project and is “being driven by the developer.”

That’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

Do those who value the park have ideas to make the park better? Would they support higher taxes to pay for improvements? Is there an idea for a project they like more than a hotel? Is there a plan to bring in more tourists to help keep hotels full?

It’s now put up or shut up time for this riverfront hotel project.

There is only one opportunity to develop a prime riverfront parcel — so those who have viable ideas and concerns had better speak up quickly or forever hold their peace.

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