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Historic-district concerns stall YSU wind turbine project

Published: Sat, October 13, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Denise Dick



A project to install wind turbines behind Melnick Hall at Youngstown State University has been postponed.

“That project has been delayed because the turbines were to be constructed there on Wick Avenue, north of Melnick Hall. And since that is actually a historic district, there needs to be an assessment made regarding the impact that the placement of those turbines will have on that area in terms of line of sight” and other factors, said Ron Cole, YSU spokesman.

The Wick Avenue neighborhood earned historic district designation on the National Register of Historic Places in the mid-1970s.

The university had received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the turbines which were to be installed on 80-foot towers.

Students studying engineering technology were to collect and study data collected from the turbines.

Bill Lawson, president of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, said that any time federal or state money is used for a project within a historic district, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office requires a review.

That assessment, conducted by an individual reviewer and filed with the state preservation office, will determine whether the project would have any negative impact on the district.

Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said the $2 million DOE grant had three components, studying wind, solar and energy efficiency.

The solar and energy-efficiency components are complete. About $150,000 remains for two turbines for the wind component.

Abraham said the university is working on the project with a Cleveland-based company that makes a unique turbine blade.

“The original goal — and it’s still our intention – was to take their novel blade design and compare it to the traditional blade design with the two turbines in the same proximity,” the dean said.

A separate project involves a third wind turbine in the same general area that has a shorter blade. Students will compare the numerical calculations from the turbines.


1bmanresident(607 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow, a good example of the backwards thinking of the Mahoning Valley. It's old so it's valuable? That is why Youngstown will never be able to be revitalized, we are clinging on to the crumby run down houses in the historic districts!

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2ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

bmanresident you have no clue about what you are talking about.

The real issue here is why do we need a couple of wind turbines at YSU at all? Is it a good use of tax money to spend $2 million on what basically will be a teaching aid? Why reinvent the wheel and duplicate on a small scale what other colleges are doing on a larger scale?

Why couldn't YSU put this wind turbine out at the Mahoning County Experimental Farm in Canfield or find some farmer to give some land in a wide open area for this? It doesn't have to be right on campus. We have this invention called an automobile that will take people right to wherever this turbine is installed at.

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3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Better then the sports center

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4nononsense(2 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

There are 2 turbines already erected in Lordstown that they could study. 20 minutes away from YSU

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5lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

YSU better talk to Western Reserve school district thay built a wind farm at there new school , the only problem is it still don't work . Then you wonder why we wont pass new tax levies

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6Jerry(810 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

@nononsense - The wind turbines at Lordstown (which cost the taxpayer $131,700) have already proven themselve to be absurdly ineffective at providing electricity. As did the wind turbines at Western Reserve High School in Berlin Center (which cost taxpayers $360,000).

This begs the question, why would we expect that spending another $150,000 for wind turbines at YSU will yield a different result??

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7PhilKidd(188 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

(Sad) Irony: YSU halting development of a project because of historic district protocol...while, only a few months ago, demolished a structure (Peck House) in said district which, in part, designated it a historic district in the first place...only to then announce plans to build a $750K new structure with the same purpose in the exact same place...although stating they had no viable plan for nor ability to raise money for rehabilitation of the historic structure.

Reminder: http://tinyurl.com/8ha8t94

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8Spiderlegs(160 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The whole purpose of a historic district is to preserve the character of a community and its buildings, but many communities abuse the designation as a last ditch effort to add prestige to declining urban neighborhoods, which is what Youngstown did. Of course, if you designate a community as a historic district and don't invest in its preservation, there are problems when someone comes along with an interesting idea. This is what happened here. Perhaps we should just remove the historic designation--there are no serious efforts to revitalize the neighborhood anyways.

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