Concrete barriers will stay for now
ATV driver slams into structure
WARREN — The concrete barriers on Dana Street will remain for the foreseeable future despite an ATV rider being critically injured after he crashed into one of them late Sept. 16.
Theotis Sanders Jr., 30, of Rome Township, Ohio, crashed a 2016 Honda Foreman into one of two concrete barriers at Paige Avenue and Dana Street, nearly splitting it in half. The barrier has been replaced.
Sanders has been listed in critical condition since the accident, which occurred at 11:58 p.m. Police said the ATV was reported stolen out of Portage County and speed is believed to be a factor in the crash. No charges have been filed in the crash because police are waiting to see if Sanders’ condition improves. He was thrown off the ATV and was not wearing a helmet, according to police.
The barriers were placed on Dana Street between North Park and Paige avenues by the city over a year ago at the request of businessman Christopher Alan, who was leasing the former Delphi Packard facility while preparing to make it the manufacturing site for his Auto Parkit business.
Alan, a Warren native who moved to California where he established Auto Parkit, an automated hydraulic lift parking system, returned in 2015 to announce he was planning to establish a design, manufacturing and storage facility for the company.
At the time he announced his plans, Alan estimated Auto Parkit over the next decade could bring 1,000 jobs to the area. The jobs would be a combination of high-paying engineering and architectural positions as well as manufacturing jobs. Auto Parkit also would work with companies already established in the area.
Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said at the time Alan requested the barriers, the former Delphi building was being vandalized by people throwing rocks through its windows and destroying property.
In addition, there also were safety concerns because of the work that needed done during the building’s renovation stage.
“The vandals were the major concern,” Cantalamessa said. “Before we placed the barriers, Mr. Alan spoke to the businesses and neighbors in the area and they were okay with our placing them. The other company owners realized the job potential that Auto Parkit is bringing to the city.”
However, since that initial announcement, Alan and the owner of the former Delphi building have not been able to come to an agreement for the final sale of the Delphi buildings. Alan, in a contingency, purchased the former General Electric facility, which also is on Dana Street.
“We are not taking the barriers down because Mr. Alan still has a leasing interest in the Delphi building and has invested more the $1.5 million into it,” Cantalamessa said.
This is the first accident since the barriers were placed on Dana Street, according to police records.
While this is the first time this administration has placed barriers to block a street in response to a business interest, Cantalamessa said the city previously has vacated streets.
Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd ward, and Council President Jim Graham, each have questioned why the administration has maintained the barriers on the street.
“I’ve asked the administration repeatedly to remove the barriers, but nothing was done,” Novak said. “I even asked them from the council floor. They would not remove the barriers. Now, I’m afraid we’re going to be sued.”
Graham said he has had business owners complain to him about the barriers, especially since Alan acknowledged the problems he has had in finalizing a purchase agreement for the Delphi buildings.
“There does not appear to be much work being done,” Graham said. “I don’t see a need for the barriers remaining there.”
Cantalamessa said the barriers have nearly eliminated the vandalism at the Delphi building.
“There is no reason to remove the barriers at this time,” Cantalamessa said. “They are doing the jobs they were intended.”