The Ohio EPA will begin work on a major Mahoning river project in Lowellville next spring.

They're calling it the beginning of the redevelopment of not just the Mahoning River but the entire Mahoning Valley.

The Ohio EPA will remove the first street dam on the Mahoning River in Lowellville starting next March at a cost of $2.3 million.

Lowellville's mayor made the announcement at a special groundbreaking ceremony today.

He says once the dam is gone, the river will be a place for recreation.

"It's giving us an opportunity for some development on the river. We feel the recreation part of it is really going to develop. We have some developers and some venture capitalists who bought some property to develop on the river. We are looking at a park on the river, restrooms, and showers so the kayakers can come out, take a shower and walk down water street," said Mayor James Ludiciani.

According to the EPA, the removal of the dam and silt in that area will make it a healthy environment for plants and fish.

"It allows water to move freely, it allows oxygenation of the water, it brings back fish, it brings back aquatic insects which is important to us and the health of the river," said Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler.

The dam should be completely removed by September of next year, then the banks will be stabilized and new vegetation will be planted.

The EPA has even bigger future plans for the Mahoning River. They want to remove each of the nine different dams in our region. The next one slated for removal is in Struthers.