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Our opinion: New eyes for city development

Something Vince DeJoy, Warren’s new planner, said last week is interesting in light of the ongoing community discussion of a new hotel in Breeze Point Landing.

“I also want to get to know people that live and do business here to get their thoughts and input on future development plans and projects,” he said. “I have learned from previous experience that community input and buy-in are so important in the decision for the direction of future development projects, and I trust that we will find that right mixture of blending in the historical and established with the new models for sustainable development and growth.”

There are some in Warren who would argue that such listening wasn’t done before the city began working with a developer on the Breeze Point Landing Cobblestone Inn and Suites. DeJoy meant what he said because he has seen firsthand how community opposition over development projects can divide a community during his time working in Jamestown.

The National Comedy Center project wasn’t a city-driven project, but it was one that sparked a lot of community discussion, overcame skepticism over the use of a key downtown Jamestown parcel and became a downtown jewel.

Housing projects driven by some of Jamestown’s nonprofits were similarly unpopular in many circles, and one of those projects fell apart because there wasn’t enough community support to justify state tax dollars being poured into the project.

As DeJoy begins his work here, this is a golden opportunity for those concerned with Warren’s future to have frank discussions with the new planner. He brings an outside set of eyes to a city crying out for new development. As he holds meetings around town, DeJoy doesn’t need to hear sugarcoated opinions. He needs to hear, in as blunt and direct a way as possible, what Warren residents and businesses need so that he can put his best efforts into filling those needs.

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