Friends of Mahoning hope to create canoe launch in Girard


The property is deep, narrow, flat and soggy, and up until May, it was overrun with weeds.

Beyond those weeds winds the Mahoning River — quiet, but muddy and running fast Thursday from recent rain.

Tom Smith and his son, Andrew, of Girard, along with Dale Smith of Chardon, were deciding whether they should try some kayaking.

Dale had brought his kayak down, and the plan was to let Andrew try out the new launch a group of volunteers had made on the river bank in May.

But no, Tom and Dale decided — the river was running way too high.

Such a beautiful spot though, said Sara Smith, who is Tom and Dale’s mother. She also lives in Girard.

With the group was Don Rex, who lives in the city as well. As they stood on a road beside the property that suddenly just ends, off Front Street under the Girard Viaduct, the Smiths and Rex talked about how special the unassuming, out-of-the-way spot is to them.

They are all part of a group called Friends of the Mahoning River, activists who want to see the river cleaned up and protected.

In March, Friends and the city applied for a $69,000 grant to the Ohio canoeboat launch at the spot.

The group and the city will learn whether they’re getting the grant in the fall.

Read the complete story in Sunday's Vindicator or on

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