Local leaders call new state budget a win for the Valley - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Local leaders call new state budget a win for the Valley

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Mahoning Valley -

The new budget signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine includes $2,000,000 for the revitalization of the Mahoning River. 

That would include an implementation plan for the Mahoning River Water Trail Initiative and the removal of old and dangerous dams. 

So-called low-head dams are found all along the Mahoning River.  Some dating back a hundred years were built to support steel mill operations and other industries that lined the river bank.
Area leaders say now it's time to clean up the river and turn it into an economic development tool.

"Our legacy is in this river. It's why the people came here. It's why industry came here. For the last 50 years we turned our backs on the river," said James Dignan, Executive Director of the Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This new funding will be an environmental and economic development investment.

"Research shows that if we can take those dams out, the river will mostly self-clean. If we can get these dams taken out and get them dredged out the right way," said State Representative Don Manning. 

One of the first dams to go is in Lowellville, where the village has big plans for development along the river.  The Village mayor says their plan includes kayak, canoe and bike rentals, a riverfront park, new shops, restaurants, and condos.  

 "That's what this water and this grant is doing for Lowellville, and I envision that happening in every community all the way up to Newton Falls,"  said Mayor James Iudiciani. 

The Regional Chamber says in time, the river will become an attraction and destination.  "People actually come to the Mahoning River to get on the water and enjoy it for recreation and actually utilizing the river," Dignan said. 


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