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Port Authority, Eastgate talk Mahoning River restoration

WARREN — With spring approaching, local leaders are seeking to restore the Mahoning River for recreational and business opportunities.

Removing dams and sediment along the river were on the agenda at Wednesday’s Western Reserve Port Authority Economic Development Committee Meeting.

Joann Esenwein, director of planning for the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, discussed efforts to remove local dams and restore the Mahoning River’s banks for economic development through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. The program provides financial assistance to communities to help meet their environmental needs.

Esenwein said Struthers and Lowellville have already received WRRSP funds to dredge sediment and remove dams.

Esenwein said the council encourages communities to work together to seek OEPA funds. “We help applicants meet deadlines and coordinate,” said Esenwein. “We have a regional focus. We don’t want to compete with each other.”

The biggest obstacle to restoration is talking to property owners to see if they are willing to have dams removed, Esenwein said.

The council also is targeting seven other dams and river banks for future funding, including three in Warren, three in Youngstown and one in Girard.

“If we clean the banks, these would be ideal places for offices,” said Sam Covelli, owner / operator of Covelli Enterprises, who is vice chairman of the port authority board and chairman of its economic development committee.

Copyright: The Tribune Chronicle, April 12, 2018, Christopher Kromer, ckromer@tribtoday.com