WARREN RIVERWALK Returning visitors to city's roots

Landscaping is being designed to conform with the path's historical elements.
WARREN -- Despite rain delays earlier this year and a contractor with financial problems, the city's Riverwalk project is progressing.
Michael D. Keys, executive director of Warren Redevelopment and Planning, the agency overseeing the project, met this week with Kim Phillips, the Warren architect in charge, and representatives from Executive Landscaping of Vienna and Lucas Landscaping of Barberton.
The companies are designing the landscaping to conform with the historical elements of the project.
Keys and Phillips said rains that plagued the area through most of May slowed progress.
The general contractor has had financial problems, including court cases, further adding to the delay.
Keys said if the project lags, the city could decide to impose fines against the contractor, but he thinks it's progressing at a good pace.
He hopes it's finished by fall.
Seats have been carved into the side of the hill for the outdoor amphitheater, fixtures to provide water and electric hookups for vendors have been installed, and underground electrical work is nearly complete.
The project is to include trails, the outdoor theater, festival grounds, a promenade and eventually, restoration of the historical Kinsman House.
Here was concern
Keys said landscaping around the amphitheater will be done, taking into account historical elements.
Representatives from historical-preservation agencies have expressed concerns about maintaining the historical integrity of the sight lines from the porch of the Kinsman House.
A person standing on the porch in the 1820s would have been able to gaze at the Mahoning River.
That's why small bushes and trees will be planted around the amphitheater as a buffer but won't block the river view.
Keys said community groups have expressed interest in planting flowers along the path.
Keys and several city officials met earlier this year with Gov. Bob Taft's budget director to make a pitch for the Robins Theater, Riverwalk, National Packard Museum and Packard Music Hall projects.
A shortfall in the state budget and cuts across many state departments don't bode well for the chances this year.
Word isn't expected for at least a few months.
The city requested $10 million two years ago for the Riverwalk and Robins Theater projects and received $2 million.

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