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Officials begin process for new comprehensive plan



Published: Sat, February 10, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.



Warren can't thrive or succeed without a plan, a councilman said.

By AMANDA GARRETT

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city took its first steps toward providing an updated comprehensive plan to boost the economy and image of Warren.

Mayor Michael J. O'Brien issued a request for qualifications from professional planning, design and development firms to help Warren implement a new 20-year plan.

It has been more than 30 years since the city updated its plan, O'Brien said Friday.

"We're in a unique position," he said. "We need to preserve our historic sites, while also building our economy in the future."

Once a development firm is chosen, it will work closely with city government, the community development department, Warren City Schools and citizens to devise a common vision for the future, the mayor added.

Heather McMahon, an urban design and grants coordinator with the community development department, and Councilman Andrew Barkley, D-3rd, also have been working to move the plan forward.

Barkley, who heads council's strategic planning committee, has been a longtime advocate for an updated comprehensive plan.

"We're not going to be able to thrive or succeed as a city unless we have a plan in place," he said. "This isn't going to be a cure-all for every one of the city's problems, but it will be a good tool in the toolbox."

Areas of interest

The items the plan will look at include:

Preserving Warren's natural and historic resources.

Looking at the best ways to use available land.

Planning a timeline for capital improvements.

Preserving and expanding recreational areas including parks and bicycle paths.

Evaluating and improving the economy.

Evaluating and improving housing.

O'Brien said he does not have a cost estimate for updating the plan at this time, but the money would come from a combination of grants and city funds.

Once a development firm is found, the plan should take about a year to create, Barkley said.

"The request for qualifications is just the first step in a long process," he said.

The deadline for qualifications packages is 4 p.m. March 9. Anyone who wants more information should contact McMahon at (330) 841-2595 or by e-mail at hmcmahon@warren.org.

agarrett@vindy.com




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