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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


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



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.


1lee(544 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Great idea Y town is awash in greenbacks

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2ytownsteelman(670 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months 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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3rliddle(7 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months 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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4cambridge(3465 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months 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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5republicanRick(1506 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months 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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6DSquared(1531 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure the city will build something useful........like basketball courts!

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7Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months 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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