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Another Idea For Economic Impact On Warren’s Historic Courthouse Square

04/25/2009
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Over the many years, several proposals have been bantered around for the attracting of businesses and other venues to the Historic Warren Courthouse Square.

The idea of an Entertainment District, a Performing Arts School had been discussed and even a Culinary Arts School, or maybe a Beauty College. The concept was to make a campus type situation with the many empty second floors of the buildings on the Square with business spaces filled on ground level.

In a recent exchange of comments on a post concerning a letter to the Tribune from the Executive Director Main Street Warren, local Businessman and Manager, Josh Navitio, had this comment that DTD thinks is the “visionary” economic impact concept needed, that we have turned it into a posting.

Since you talked about the exchange of ideas, let me put this out there. Forget about business surveys. I know what we and a few others have told them, but the only thing existing businesses need is more businesses.

I would like to see a more concentrated effort at reclaiming the square and the immediate square area. Say—forming an odd looking triangle from the Mahoning Building, over towards the Mocha House, and over to the Sunrise, with the bottom side of this thing being 422. And within that area, working building by building, finding out what needs to be done in the empty properties, what the building owners are willing to do to get them up and running as shops, stores, coffee houses and eateries.

Take pictures of these properties, tossing them up on a website with all important info and contact information, as well as pictures! (I checked out the ‘Robins Theater’ page on the Warren Grows site last night and was shocked to see not one picture of the guts of that building). Work with the city to get tax penalties for those owners who’ve let their properties go and have no intention of fixing them. Lobby our state reps for some better, or more refined blight laws (and if those already exist, USING THEM against these property owners)—Arrange for the properties to be bought at fair market value at best and at worst using eminent domain to take them.

I saw a news article this morning that Mike Simon, the Iron Chef who has two restaurants in Cleveland is expanding into the suburbs there with two more restaurants.

Now imagine if the Chamber went up there with a portfolio of how scenic our area is. How unique the buildings are. A map of how accessible it is from the various highways. And they offered him their old little johnnies location for a dollar a year for 5-10 years. Or WRAP (or the city) offered them the old one stop (after fixing it up, use that Obamana from heaven for something–if it can work for the Kinsman House, why not there?) And have the city have a tax abatement package ready. Just ask him to hire employees from within the city borders.

Might not happen, probably couldn’t, but if anyone made a show like this, I would take them seriously. That’s the kind of thing that could change the whole game for the Square and its immediate area.

We want to thank Josh for his comments and input for we feel that it is through the sharing of ideas that we build the foundation to growth.

Dare To Dream also thinks that until Warren attracts private investment and stops relying total on “government funding”, that all the plans, surveys and photo ops won’t make it happen.

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