Once again, Warren is in the bottom of the ninth, down three runs, with the bases loaded.
The stark reality is that a profits-first market has outsourced our manufacturing base; investors don't see the Valley as a tech belt, yet; and our shale boom may never materialize.
Still, for a couple of decades now, upstanding local citizens have worked hard to keep the bases loaded in our little rust belt town.
Joint ventures of public and private citizens have started thriving projects such as the Community Amphitheatre and the River Rock at the Amp concert series.
Private investors have started successful local businesses such as Diane Sauer Chevrolet.
In other cases, nonprofit volunteers have created beautiful spaces where once there were none. The Veterans Memorial Park and The Women's Park are downtown gems (the latter honoring all women who built Trumbull County, one person at a time).
Kudos to all involved because we've learned so much about what works and what doesn't.
But we can hardly afford to bunt now.
Now is the time for everyone to work together and brainstorm our next bold move.
If everyone offers three big ideas to save our city, maybe, while we all work to keep the bases loaded, one of them will turn out to be a grand slam.
Brainstorm all of the tourist attractions you have ever wanted to visit / revisit. What do these places have in common?
Wholesome but unique ways to excite our senses and engage our minds without breaking the budget.
Below I offer you three potential home run ideas for Warren, and I'm looking forward to reading yours (email me your three most proactive ideas):
1. TRACI (Trumbull Art Co-op Institute) - Create a hybrid public / private art institute on Warren's historic courthouse square. The downtown district is ripe for an artist colony with galleries, studios and shops on the square co-oping a variety of fine and performing arts as well as fashionable crafts and multimedia.
TRACI could partner with the private sector to sell students' works from fine cuisine to pottery to experimental films and even Broadway plays (at Robins Theatre and the amphitheater).
All the while, working student-artists would be earning a bachelor's degree in their respective disciplines.
Generous protagonists for privatizing public education could invest in a scholarship program to provide each student enrolled in TRACI with free tuition.
This way, TRACI's admissions board could be very selective and accept only the highest-quality applicants.
Incidentally, an art community is already beginning to form downtown between the Robins Theatre Project, The Lime Tree restaurant, Dave Grohl Alley, The Warren Business Exchange (to name a few) and many others working on our downtown. This proves the interest is already there.
2. Build a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark on the Mahoning-side property where the old hydroelectric powerhouse was located. If we build it, they will come ... every day and by the busload.
Spotlighting the Noah-era handiwork of local Amish craftsmen, with proper planning and community support, Trumbull County's Amish carpenters could be hired to handily build an ark the size of ten barns in 40 days and 40 nights.
If local churchgoers would donate hardwood trees and volunteers developed and ran tours, it might be economically feasible. It would be a huge undertaking requiring every area church and restaurant to donate potluck dinners for Amish workers for 40 days in a row.
But more importantly, it would tie our community together with an influence from above.
Perhaps one generous donation from a blessed believer could make it all happen.
3. My third idea combines Warren's early historical culture (1798 to 1812) into an outdoor play at the amphitheater on the banks of the Mahoning River - where it all began.
I have already begun adapting Warren's pioneer era stories into a play for the Community Amphitheatre.
The theatrical recreation of actual events would showcase actors on horseback, a rattlesnake roundup, Native Americans catching muskies from birchbark canoes, replicas of Native American and pioneer dwellings on the opposite river bank - all within the dramatic context of Warren's first murder and trial.
On July 20, 1800, early Warren pioneer Joseph McMahon shot and killed a highly respected English-speaking Native American named Captain George, thereby triggering 14 years of cross-cultural unrest.
Our rust belt town needs as many reasons as possible to entice folks to visit / revisit.
But until a skillful local hero can knock it out of the park, every concerned citizen must find his / her role in keeping the bases loaded downtown, whether it means creating, fixing, founding, cleaning, giving money, reporting a crime, removing blight, or just being there to serve water to hard working volunteers.
Warren needs your help to hit a grand slam.
Herman is a Warren resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org