WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A big economic development is just getting underway for the city of Warren. It’s happening for a small — but very important — parcel of land.
The west end of what Warren is now calling The Peninsula begins at the split of West Market and South Street. It includes the land once occupied by Martin Chevrolet and ends east at the bend of the Mahoning River through downtown.
“One of the unique things about our city that we haven’t taken advantage of — that we will — is the fact that we have a river that wraps around our downtown,” Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said. “And we’ve coined the phrase ‘The Peninsula.'”
The Peninsula sits between a split in the roads and bend in the river. Not only is there a phrase, but there’s also a plan.
“Our plan is to have mixed-use zoning,” Frankiln said. “Whether it’s residential, retail, office space.”
“This is a very positive change,” said Augie Thumm, owner of Thumm’s Bike and Clock Shop. “I think not just for The Peninsula but for the whole city.”
Thumm’s family has run Thumm’s Bike and Clock Shop on West Market Street for 108 years — long before anyone thought about calling the area The Peninsula.
He’s excited about the possibilities.
“With people we have involved with this project currently, that can all turn around and it’s all good,” Thumm said.
“You have to start somewhere,” Matt Martin said. “We’ve seen it in other cities.”
Matt Martin’s Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership has taken control of two tracts on The Peninsula.
One is a vacant stretch of buildings on West Market, while the other is the former J & R Glass Building on South Street. He’ll sell them for cheap — but only to someone with a viable plan.
“But what kind of economic development are we creating?” Martin says. “What number of jobs? What field are they in? What’s the benefit to the community from retail or consumer side?”
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin says there’s already someone interested in building on The Peninsula.
“There’s now a qualified developer who’s taken out a three-year option on a deal we have with the port authority to help us develop the peninsula,” he said.
The term The Peninsula was used in one of the studies recently done to help Warren with economic development. Everyone liked it so much, it’s now being used as a brand and marketing tool.