Leaders take to the Mahoning River for recreation


YOUNGSTOWN

A group of local community leaders and state officials are paddling the Mahoning River today, and hope to make that opportunity more widely available to the Mahoning Valley over the next few years. 

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments today hosted an event highlighting an effort to remove the dams from the Mahoning River, thereby improving the water quality and opening the river up to recreation. 

The group was joined by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler, who said the coordinated process led by Eastgate will help this area in the competitive grant process to get the $20 million in funding needed to remove nine dams between Lowellville and Leavittsburg. 

One dam in Lowellville is scheduled to be removed this fall. Another in Struthers has been approved for Struthers. 

Eastgate Executive Director Jim Kinnick said he expects the total process to take several years. 

As each dam is removed, however, it will open up another segment of the river that can be used for recreation. 

Eventually, the vision is to develop the riverfront. 

“It’ll be a free-flowing river, making it a recreational river,” Kinnick said.  “Once you open up a river and it cleans itself, you hope to get economic development.”

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