LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The Lowellville Dam on the Mahoning River was built in the early 1900s to create a pool of water for a nearby steel mill. With the mill long gone, the dam is being demolished.
The effort to remove the dam began nine years ago. On Thursday, the structure was finally brought down.
The sound of an industrial sized jackhammer pierced the usually quiet community as the sixth of eight piers that make up the dam were chipped away.
On hand for the demolition were Lowellville Mayor Jim Iudiciani and Stephanie Dyer, an environment manager with Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
After the piers are removed, a section of dam underwater will be taken out next. The debris is being removed by a large bucket. Removing the Lowelleville Dam and others along the river will help the waterway.
“When we remove the dams, we are allowing the bugs and the fish to navigate up and down the watercourse like they should, as well as allowing the river to naturally flush itself without having anything holding it back,” Dyer said.
On the banks of the river, brush and dirt have been removed to show layers of sandstone, which no one knew were there.
“This was supposed to be covered up. When they opened this up, we said why cover it? It’s beautiful and it’s a part of history. So, that will be water blasted and cleaned up a little,” Iudiciani said.
Eventually, a canoe livery and a community center will be built on the site. And as Mayor Iudiciani likes to point out, the removal of the dam will eventually lead to a whole new Lowellville.
“We’re hopefully going to capitalize on the recreational part of this. People can kayak, come to fish, come to ride bicycles. Hopefully, make this Lowellville Water Street that great street with shops and restaurants and more bars than we already have,” Iudiciani said.
The cost of removing the dam was $2.3 million, almost all of it paid through state grants.
The dam along the Mahoning River in Struthers is next to be demolished, followed by three in Youngstown.
A study is taking place to determine if there’s a need for the four dams in Trumbull County.
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