WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Warren’s Summit Street dam could be the next one along the Mahoning River to be removed.
Lowellville’s dam was the first and the Struthers dam will come down starting in May.
The plan is to remove nine dams along the Mahoning River, but whether the Summit Street dam is one of them depends on Wednesday night’s vote of Warren City Council.
Council members debated on Tuesday whether the dam should be demolished.
“This is a great economic development tool for ourselves and for many, many other communities along the river,” said councilman John Brown.
Councilman John Brown said the Summit Street dam was built to generate hydro-electricity but is no longer used for that.
“These dams are past their purpose,” Brown said.
But Councilman Gary Steinbeck was concerned that removing the dam would drop the water level down river and hurt the Cleveland-Cliffs coke plant and McDonald Steel.
“We can’t afford to jeopardize and lose more jobs. If it’s not going impact these two facilities, I’m going to be prone to support this piece of legislation,” said councilman Gary Steinbeck.
“I don’t believe taking the dam out of Summit Street would have any repercussions for either of those two employers,” Brown said.
Brown also said the dam is a danger, quoting Warren’s fire chief who said in the past 25 years, three people have drowned after going over the dam while another two nearly drowned.
When asked if the legislation to remove the dam needed to be passed on Wednesday or if it could wait, Warren’s director of engineering Paul Makosky had no reason to delay.
“We all felt comfortable that Warren’s project — removal of the Summit Street dam — wouldn’t have any adverse impacts. There were just the benefits to be seen, not only from an environmental perspective but a safety perspective as well,” said Paul Makosky, director of engineering.
The total cost to remove the Summit Street dam is $3.2 million, with all the money coming from the State of Ohio — the City of Warren would pay nothing.
The project should be completed sometime in 2022 or 2023.