By RAYMOND L. SMITH
WARREN Efforts to promote the city as a place to move new families and to open new business have taken a number of hits this year.
The year was only 2 hours, 10 minutes old when gunshots rang outside of the former Sunset lounge, 480 E. Market St. S.E., and a city resident was fatally wounded.
In March, a series of raids organized by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that netted hundreds of pounds of drugs, weapons and other tools used in criminal activities showed the city has been a destination for illegal drugs and gang violence.
In the last month, a city police officer killed a man believed to have been on his way to shoot up a local bar, and on Saturday, the dead man's brother stole a car and killed a young father who was at a West Market Street gas station, according to police reports.
"I think news of these events are detrimental to our efforts (to promote the city) because there are some people who believe that this is only what Warren is," Dennis Blank said. "But people who live here know that there is a lot more to Warren. These events do not define the city."
Blank said creating a broader, more complete view of life in the city is what has propelled him in recent years to promote a garden district that in which homes and properties are rehabbed, and gregg's gardens, where abandoned properties are used for wildflower gardens.
"In other larger cities, like New York, people know there are so many other positive things happening that periodic spikes in crime does not define what people think of them," he said. "We don't have that luxury. We are working to highlight positives in the city."