STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – The process of removing the Struthers dam began in late July. Four months later, nothing is left of the dam.
The contaminated sediment around the dam is still being removed but the area should be ready for kayaks come spring.
On Wednesday, Struthers Mayor Cat Cercone-Miller peered down onto the Mahoning River that is now free of the Struthers dam. Half joking, she suggested a zip line be run from Struthers to Campbell.
“As far off as that sounds, that’s something that may be in the future, with all of the recreation we want to have going on here,” she said.
Before the demolition, the Struthers dam’s large concrete pillars from a former railroad bridge blocked the flow of water. Today, there’s a bridge where the dam once stood for the demolition crews to get across. Eventually, the bridge will be gone and the river through Struthers will flow freely.
“It looks amazing. We’ve come down here many times just to look at the progress because this river in Struthers has been so hidden for so long, and just to see it so wide open and just to see just the possibilities and the things that can take place here. It’s really exciting,” Cercone-Miller said.
Because of high water, no work has been done for a couple of weeks. The dredging machines, used to remove contaminated sediment, were parked on Wednesday. The sediment is being dumped onto the former steel mill property adjacent to the river.
“And that is a lot of the cost too is shipping that to other places to be able to get rid of it, but we have one right here,” Cercone-Miller said.
Struthers is also working with a kayaking group to strategically place boulders in the river to create fast-moving water. A boat launch under Bob Cene Way is also under construction, and the city hopes to soon take over 28 acres behind Cene Field.
“We have some big ideas, some major ideas that we’re hoping to come to fruition there,” Cercone-Miller said.
The Struthers dam now joins the Lowellville dam as two of the nine along the Mahoning River to be demolished.