Group checks out city walk-through

WARREN – Plans for a walk-through that would connect Market Street to the Dave Grohl Alley and the Franklin Street parking deck was shown Wednesday to a group of downtown citizens.

Paul Clouser, owner of the building where the enclosed walk-through would be placed, pushed the idea through most of last winter and this spring.

City Council last month was asked by the administration to authorize paying $80,000 from its Downtown Redevelopment Fund to finance placing a door in the rear of Clouser’s building, add stairs and a chair lift, and to build some interior walls.

”I’m doing everything else,” Clouser said. ”I’m putting in the side walls, electrical work, lights, heating, redoing the flooring and anything else I would have done anyway.

”I’ve also agreed to do the upkeep, purchase insurance and to make sure the doors to the walk-through are open at least one half hour before the (Trumbull County) Courts open and a half hour after they close.”

In exchange for its money, the city would receive a 50-year easement for the walk-through.

Several council members had questions about the proposal during a meeting last month. They met with Clouser and his wife, Holly, on Wednesday and given a tour of the site.

“I was very impressed,” Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, said. “I hope it will help us get more cars into the white elephant that is now the parking deck.”

Brown said it will cut in half the amount of time it takes people to get from the deck to the courthouse.

Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, called it an excellent idea.

“I’m especially encouraged by the private public partnership,” Colbert said. “My hope is it makes the parking deck relevant. It is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, said she likes what she has seen but is waiting to see the proposed agreement between the city and Clouser.

“I want to make sure the city is protected in the contract,” Rucker said.