By BRENDA J. LINERT
WARREN - Economic development and infrastructure improvements in the area described as a gateway to the city continued Tuesday morning when the ribbon was cut on a new Circle K convenience store and fuel station at the intersection of Parkman Road NW and North Leavitt Road NW.
The expanded and upgraded 4,000-square-foot and facility opened in May next door to the previous location, but closer to the busy intersection.
''It's a very important investment for the (Route) 422 corridor, which is one of our main entranceways into the city from the west and has the greatest potential for future investment,'' said Mayor Doug Franklin.
He pointed out the opening coincides with ongoing road and infrastructure improvements to state Route 422, amounting to more than $20 million over three phases, and recently announced plans for construction of an $8.9 million, 60-unit senior housing complex on Parkman Road N.W.
Officials at the new Circle K said since its mid-May opening, they already have seen a 68 percent increase in sales and gasoline sales at more than 70,000 gallons a week.
''We expected an increase in sales, but this is beyond our expectations,'' said Carl Saviers, Circle K's Regional Director of Operations.
Judy Maloney and her grandson Colin Maloney of nearby Warren Township are among those who were anxiously awaiting the opening as they drove by daily on their way to LaBrae schools.
''We watched every morning. It is a perfect spot,'' Judy Maloney said.
The new facility employs 20 full- and part-time workers, an increase of at least seven from the previous location, and the company expects to hire more workers as business continues to grow here.