HOWLAND TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – There’s some pushback against the development of Enterprise Park — a massive medical complex that would be built behind the Eastwood Mall.
On Thursday night, over 100 people gathered to learn more about conserving the wetlands that will be disrupted if the development moves forward.
Members of Friends of the Mahoning River do not want wetlands along the Mosquito Creek Watershed to be disturbed. About 15 acres of the over 50-acre medical complex are wetlands.
“It’s an important migratory bird corridor,” said Patricia Dunbar, president of Friends of the Mahoning River. “It has been preserved in many ways by Howland Township.”
The group is spreading its message and there was a large turnout Thursday night.
Joe Bell — spokesman for the Cafaro Company, which is working to develop Enterprise Park with Mercy Health — said the most important and fragile areas of wetlands will not be disturbed.
But the group said even building up to those areas will still affect the wildlife because the property will be “dissected.”
“For the birds that use that for migration, for stopping, for reproducing. For any of the animals that live there, like the salamanders or any of the animals that live there, it will just disturb them so much,” Dunbar said.
The Cafaro Company plans to buy wetlands credits twice the size of what will be disrupted — basically, purchase 30 acres of land to develop new wetlands.
The company is planning to buy along the Mahoning River Watershed but the exact location isn’t finalized.
“We don’t agree that the state should be involved in shopping credits around so that it becomes a buy-off,” said Jim Villani, a concerned citizen.
Bell said the company is doing its best to be thorough and thoughtful.
A lot of people also argue the Cafaro Company shouldn’t be moving and abandoning one hospital for the new Enterprise Park. The old St. Joseph Hospital, described by many as a crumbling eyesore, has yet to be torn down.
The EPA granted the permit for the development.
The Army Corps of Engineers has finished its review of the development and its impact. Bell said he awaits word of its decision soon.