By Tim Yovich
John Kanetsky looks at it with curiosity.
They're just two viewpoints held toward a mountain of construction material at LAS Recycling Inc. that is being topped off at 140 feet high.
Some of the material is local, but most comes in by train from the East Coast and is trucked two miles from a rail line to the landfill.
The construction and demolition debris is mostly imported from Massachusetts and Rhode Island with some from Connecticut.
The LAS hill is the city's highest point. Downtown Youngstown can be seen from atop the "cell" that has slowly risen like a monolith in a sci-fi movie.
"It will pretty much stay the way it is," said Guy Fragle, LAS general manager, explaining that the lack of air inside the hill won't allow some of the material to degrade. "We kid about turning it into a ski slope."
'It's ugly'
Others, such as 22-year-old Exline, who has a good view of the mountain as he stands on his Sharplee Avenue porch in the Parkwood section of the city, doesn't see the humor in it.
"I can't believe they let people do something like that. It's just ugly. It's hard to live around here," Exline said, calling attention to the old steel mill across South State Street, along the Mahoning River.
He pointed to the nearby scrap yard and sewage treatment plant.
Watched it grow
Like Exline, 50-year-old Kanetsky of Hubbard has watched the mountain grow the past few years.
"It was a little thing when I started here," said Kanetsky, who has been working at Rebox Services Inc. on South State Street for three years.
"At first, you could barely see it over the treetops. I'm just amazed how big it has gotten. It's been a curiosity. You wonder what's in the air," the welder said, pointing out the wind blows off the mountain toward Rebox.
Fragle said the mound will be fully covered with dirt and seeded.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says the height of the fill is not based on vertical distance, but "slope stability."
Fragle said the slope has reached a maximum 33 degrees, so the mountain is being capped.
It has left a 34-acre "footprint" on the 110-acre site since 1989, he said.
About 1,000 tons of material daily was dumped on the pile.
What's next
Fragle, who usually has 25 people working for him, said LAS is preparing for five small cells, the first being 81/2 acres. It will become 34 feet high.
Fragle acknowledges the large cell has become highly visible, but he hasn't heard any complaints.
In preparing for the smaller cells, he explained, the area is excavated and clay from the site is spread to serve as a liner for each new cell.
Some dirt is moved to the top of the large cell, while some is stockpiled to eventually cover the smaller cells.
The newest cell will begin accepting material this week, Fragle said.

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