LEAVITTSBURG, Ohio (WKBN) – Another dam will be removed along the Mahoning River.
The Trumbull County MetroParks Board met Thursday night to vote whether or not to approve the removal of the dam at Leavittsburg. They unanimously voted yes.
Before they made the decision, they opened the floor to public comment. One resident said he was for it.
“I think it would make the river more acceptable for recreation and wildlife and for eliminating possibilities for flooding, especially up at Eagle Creek,” said Dave Ambrose, resident and former MetroParks Board member.
There has been, however, quite a bit of opposition — some from residents living along the river and one who is a nature enthusiast and has had her home there for the last four years.
“Dozens of dozens of diverse animals — birds, fish, you name it. There’s also a lot of fishing and boating and my concern is that that’s all gonna change,” said resident Julia Shutt.
She’s worried about water levels dropping to a level that wouldn’t sustain those animals and boaters when the dam is removed.
However, Joann Esenwein, with the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, called the dam a danger and said its removal is needed.
“We’re for it because the initiative is to clean the water, clean the Mahoning River and, you know, to get it fully cleaned, we need all the dams removed,” Esenwein said.
Trumbull MetroParks and Eastgate have provided several studies as to why they want the dam removed.
Still, several hundred people signed a petition to reject the removal, but Shutt said she feels they aren’t listening.
“It was pretty overwhelming interest in keeping the dam and not changing the habitat along the waterway here. Do I feel like they listened? No,” Shutt said.
“I think they have reasons why they don’t want it removed and we are trying to address some of those concerns,” Esenwein said. “We did a study to show them the water level, I think that’ll help. We’re working with EPA to get some sewer lines put in that area, I think that should help.”
From here, the MetroParks Board and Eastgate will apply for funding for the removal through the EPA. The actual removal of the dam won’t begin for likely more than a year.