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Mayor weighs lake plan

Published: Mon, December 2, 2013 @ 12:04 a.m.

By jeanne starmack



City leaders are considering a proposal to develop city property around Upper Girard Lake.

Girard Mayor James Melfi said city council members discussed the proposal from a developer he said he could not name at an executive meeting Nov. 11.

The development would include residences, commercial buildings and research and development entities, he said. It would be a green community, he added.

“It’s not selling the lake,” he said. “It would be a partnership. We don’t want to sell the lakes.”

“The streets, the lake, a possible bike and walking trail would all be public,” he said.

“It’s the most viable project in the years I’ve been here,” he said. “We hope it comes to be a reality.”

“What they want to do is very exciting,” he added.

Melfi said the city is waiting to hear back from the developers about their obtaining funding for infrastructure.

He said a public hearing would take place on the plan.

The proposal does not include Lower Girard Lake, which is dry. The city drained the lake in the early 2000s to ensure safety for 30 households downstream, according to Vindicator files.

The dam at the lake was old and needed repairs, which the city could not afford. The dam did not meet state safety standards. So the city breached it to keep the lake from filling back up, according to files.

The city bought the lakes in 1995 so that Girard could leave the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District and have its own water supply.

The city went into fiscal emergency in 2001, however, and could not afford a water filtration plant, files say.

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