HOWLAND TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The environmental group Friends of the Mahoning River wants Youngstown Federal Judge Benita Pearson to decide on her own, without a trial, that the decision to allow for the destruction of wetlands for construction of medical park along Mosquito Creek in Howland Township was illegal.
In September 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to North Eastwood, LLC, part of the Niles-based Cafaro Company, allowing for the destruction of 15.95 acres of wetlands along Mosquito Creek as part of the construction of Enterprise Park.
The main part of the Enterprise Park project was to be the building of a new hospital by Mercy Health. But in October, Mercy Health announced it may build the new hospital on land adjacent to the Kent Trumbull campus in Champion Township.
In a motion filed last week in Youngstown Federal Court, Friends of the Mahoning River asked Judge Pearson to issue a “summary judgment” and reverse the Army Corps’ decision to allow for the destruction of the wetlands, describing them as “one of the few remaining urban wetlands that Ohio has to offer.”
A summary judgment is a decision made by a judge without a full trial.
A news release issued by Friends claims the Army Corps’ decision to “issue the permit was against the public interest, failed to take into account the availability of superior alternate sites, and ignored many of the Corps’ own rules which require mitigation of impact to wetlands.”
The release commends Mercy Health’s announcement that it’s considering an alternate site.
“No hospital can be a good community health partner if they choose to desecrate the vast beauty and health benefits of this area,” the release states.
Cafaro Company spokesman Joe Bell says the company’s lawyers “have reviewed the filing and will respond in the form of our own brief on or before Dec. 11.”
The Army Corps of Engineers gave the following statement: “The Corps. cannot comment on matters in an active litigation.”
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