WARREN - A decades-old vision shared by pedestrians and by business owners was realized Friday when the ribbon was cut to open The Shops at the Shortcut.
The Shortcut, 141 W. Market St. in Courthouse Square, is the most recent revitalization project to be completed in downtown Warren.
Mayor Doug Franklin said the shop, which offers a shortcut from Courthouse Square to the parking garage on David Grohl Alley, is "symbolic of new energy" in the city.
Franklin also announced that the city will offer shoppers two hours of free parking.
The Shortcut features space for artists from the Trumbull Art Gallery to sell their wares and already has prints from Marko Spalatin, Edouard Benedictus, John C. McRae and Ilya Bolotowsky up for sale. Shirley Brady, owner of The Sweet Spot, expects to open her candy store there very soon.
Paul and Holly Clouser, the owners of the rehabilitated building, said this is not their first nor last project in downtown Warren. The couple also own the neighboring building, where the satellite office to their company, National Fire and Water Repair, is on the ground floor.
The Clousers make their home on the third floor of that building and rent two apartments out on the second floor. According to Paul Clouser, 3,100 other people also live in downtown Warren.
Holly Clouser is responsible for the building's modern interior design. The airy brick and hardwood space is accented with decorative guitars and is completed with a handicapped-accessible lift.
Also in attendance were Warren Councilmen Greg Bartholomew, who owns All-American Comics and Cards a couple doors down at 161 W. Market St., and Eddie Colbert.
Bartholomew said downtown Warren is experiencing great progress with the numerous upgrades completed and others planned.
The mayor said projects like these create a healthy and economically viable downtown space that will attract new businesses and instill a sense of civic pride in Warren residents.