WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The demolition of Warren’s former St. Joseph Hospital is underway.
The eyesore is expected to be gone by Christmas. What then will become of that property? This afternoon in downtown Warren some Kent State students had some ideas.
Kent State architecture student James Settle of Columbus explained to Warren Mayor Doug Franklin his plans for the land once the hospital on Tod Avenue is demolished. Settle’s design includes an environmental education facility along the Mahoning River, with lots of natural green space.
“You don’t need a large building to do large things,” Settle said. “Really, trying to maximize the activity on the site with the natural environment.”
Settle was one of 12 Kent State architecture students in a site design class who spent the semester working on plans for the St. Joe’s site. The group presented their plans to the people of Warren at the Brite Energy Innovation Center.
“They are phasing. Like a first phase, second phase, and third phase. Seeing what could happen in five, 10, 30 years in the future for the site,” said Professor Bill Willoughby,
Student Molly Zwack, of Maryland, said the Mahoning River was the main inspiration for her entire project. Her plan includes a nature center and wetlands, with a pedestrian bridge crossing the Mahoning River. But up against the adjacent neighborhood, there would be a new multi-use building with room for businesses and meeting space.
“Then above that would be apartments that are going to be oriented toward some of the younger population coming in. They’ll be a little bit more affordable and also sustainability based,” Zwack said.
Franklin says there are numerous ideas for the property. They will have to be implemented in phases and the people in that neighborhood must have input.
“That’s the key to this. That neighborhood has endured this eyesore and this public health hazard being there for decades,” Franklin said.
There were no winners. No specific plan was selected and will be used, but it did give the people of Warren an opportunity to see the possibilities. Franklin says they’ll really focus on a plan during the first quarter of next year and should have a final plan in place before the year’s end.