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Residents back Youngstown commission in opposition to fracking


Published: Wed, November 28, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

Residents back Youngstown commission in opposition to fracking

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Kathleen Berry of Youngstown was one of a half-dozen residents who spoke at a parks and recreation commission meeting Tuesday in support of the city’s position that it does not intend to lease park land to companies for oil and gas drilling.

SEE ALSO: Halcon effort concerns Lordstown landowners

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Residents supported the position of the Youngstown Park and Recreation Commission, which again made it clear the city has no intention to lease mineral rights of park land to oil and gas companies.

There will be “no drilling or fracking in our parks,” commission Chairman Anthony Spano said Tuesday night.

Law Director Anthony Farris, representing Mayor Charles Sammarone, added that the mayor “has no intention of leasing land in city parks.”

City resident Kathleen Berry said she is still concerned because city officials are examining a plan to solicit offers to lease mineral rights on city-owned land, and park commissioners are appointed by city officials.

“I have a sincere — maybe naive — curiosity as to whether that poses a conflict of interest,” she added.

Officials have said there is no rush to move forward with the plan now that the city has more financial security with a new multimillion-dollar contract with V&M Star.

Berry also asked the commission if there are any current wells on park land and was told that there is a gas well in Stambaugh Park that’s no longer in use.

The commission also took feedback from residents and city officials about the South Fieldhouse and proposed city park master plan.

The city closed the old South High School fieldhouse in 2010, and now the city is in negotiations to possibly sell it.

Victoria Allen, city resident and block watch leader, asked if the fieldhouse was put out to bid publicly. Robert Rohrbaugh, assistant law director, said it was not openly marketed.

“We are negotiating with an interested party,” Rohr-baugh said.

Park Director Robert Burke said a privately owned school is interested in purchasing it. The fieldhouse is next to the Southside Academy charter school, which is operated by White Hat Management of Akron.

Farris reminded the commission and residents that it’s a “city administrative decision to sell or transfer property.”

He added the goal of any sale would be to cut losses in the cost of maintaining the property and to ensure that new owners would not allow it to become a dilapidated vacant structure.

Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, represents that neighborhood in which the fieldhouse is located and is a South High School alumna.

“It’s really sad to see the South High fieldhouse go,” she said.

She also maintained the city should add a park in her ward to provide options for youths and, she believes, help lower the crime rate there.

The park’s master plan calls for downsizing the parks to fit a declining city population, Spano said.

Youngstown has more than 200 acres of parks. Of the department’s 45 properties, 33 are used for park and recreational purposes.

Spano said he would rather have 15 to 20 “great parks” than 30 to 40 average or below-average parks.

“I’m sorry we have to downsize. ... We have a lot of land to take care of,” Spano said.

He said the commission will continue to seek public input on the master plan.


Comments

1lee(544 comments)posted 2 years ago

Great idea Y town is awash in greenbacks

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2ytownsteelman(631 comments)posted 2 years ago

So has Janet Tarpley not gotten the message? The Parks Dept. wants to eliminate parks because they cannot afford them, and Tarpley wants to add a new one! How dense are these council members?

This fear of leasing mineral rights will prevent the critical mass of properties from being assembled meaning that these acres of diamonds under our feet will forever remain buried, while up here on the surface we cry and complain that we have no money. The fracktivists continue to play on the emotions of the typical uneducated Obama voter.

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3GeorgeinYoungstown(76 comments)posted 2 years ago

This presents the City with a golden opportunity for a long term, sustainable approach to utilizing City land.

Fracking is unsustainable and short term, but the damage from it will last for generations.

Instead, let's encourage the City to think in terms of broadening the already burgeoning "Urban Greening" movement, by building more urban gardens, expanding reforestation, and other ecologically positive projects that are already becoming a reality on every side of town.

And guess what? This can be profitable and create businesses and jobs for City citizens as well. Why not allow the land to be utilized for growing crops used to make biodiesel, or trees and plants for paper making, or food production in the form of orchards or maple tree farms, etc? There are a myriad of possibilities to help make Youngstown a _leader_ in the sustainable green economy of not only the future - but of _today_ - as millions of Americans are currently employed in green businesses.

Isn't that a more worthy goal than to return to a 19th Century mentality of squeezing every last drop of fossil fuel out of the land, no matter the consequences?

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4UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years ago

The Eastside , Southside, majority of the Westside and Northside are basically desolate. The urban gardens are subsidized pork jobs to justify urban nonprofits higher salaries for a few. The urban gardens produce a drop. Abandoned lands as with abandoned parks generate not even taxes. The energy companies are moving in to produce for a population that take. Either the takers produce or the energy companies will ....with the abandoned lands of Youngstown, which includes most of the City lands and parks.

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5rliddle(7 comments)posted 2 years ago

"Berry also asked the commission if there are any current wells on park land and was told that there is a gas well in Stambaugh Park that’s no longer in use."

This statement is not correct. The well is called the Stambaugh Park #1D and it is in operation.

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6cambridge(3107 comments)posted 2 years ago

uticashill....I've seen maps of the gas fields and if I remember correctly it stretches from upstate New York into West Virgina. How much will your profits plunge if you just leave Mill Creek Park alone, or is it that you have to squeeze every penny out of the area before you leave the environment in ruins?

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7republicanRick(1250 comments)posted 2 years ago

Science illiterates led by the Vindy and their misleading headlines "residents oppose drilling ..." as if ALL RESIDENTS oppose it.

Sit and stew in your filth and blight Youngstown while surrounding areas reap the bounty from minerals under the surface and rebuild their cities.

Obama, your savior, will swoop in and drop money from millionaires and give you something for nothing.

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8UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years ago

Cambridge! This is the Utica Oracle, you now can see that you are in the Matrix. The joke is on you....we only exist because of energy suckers like you and most of mankind. We will vanish as soon as you and your ilk cease to heat your asses with NG and cease to transport your butts with gasoline. I am ROTFLMAO to see that you and the liberal bent have now discovered you are part of the problem not the solution. Welcome to the Matrix, we are one and the same :')

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9Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years ago

Excellent post Cambridge ! Of course your point was ignored but that is to be expected. People use natural gas -really? So therefore the park needs to be destroyed or a way of life will en and humanity will cease to exist.. What rubbish and fear tactics.

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