Businessman wants Dana Street barriers

Warren City Council

WARREN — Businessman Christopher Alan told council members Wednesday if he is successful in purchasing the former Packard Electric building from bankruptcy, he would like to have the temporarily blocked Dana Street to remain closed for the next three to five years.

Alan, who is bringing his California-based Auto Parkit manufacturing facility to the city, spoke to council in a teleconference call held during its caucus because he was concerned about legislation to possibly remove the Dana Street barriers, which were installed at Alan’s request to protect the building from vandals and thieves.

It was while Alan was answering a question from Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-at Large, about whether he would remove the barriers that Alan said he would like the road to remain closed for the extended period.

Colbert said there may be a problem getting the road closed when there is residential housing in the area.

“There is a street in the city where there is only four houses and we cannot close it,” Colbert said.

The councilman said he tried to block Pershing Avenue SW near Choctaw Avenue SW because there were two dead bodies found dumped in the area and there has been continuous problems with dumping.

Fire department officials would not agree to block the road because firefighters cannot turn their trucks around on the narrow street if there is a fire.

Alan said he already has invested $2 million in the Delphi Packard Electric property and another $1 million in the General Electric building he purchased in May 2017 because he was unable to reach a purchase agreement for the Delphi building. He said the barriers have eliminated vandalism that had been happening at the Packard building.

Council has the authority to review the need to continue having the road blocked every 90 days. Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, sponsored legislation to have the barriers removed based on complaints he received from neighborhood residents. It was placed in second reading Wednesday.

“Mr. Alan has expressed his concerns,” Novak said. “Residents still have the chance to tell council why they want the street reopened.”

Because several council members already have expressed continued support of Alan’s effort, it is unlikely council will vote to remove the barriers when the legislation reaches its third reading.

Councilman Eugene Mach, D-7th Ward, said he would work with Alan to have Dana Street vacated so it can be permanently closed if he is successful in purchasing the property from the bankruptcy court.

When questioned by Councilman Dan Sferra, D-at Large, about how long he needs to purchase the property, Alan said the timeline is out of his control because of the bankruptcy court filings of the property’s owner.