The City of Youngstown is objecting to plans that would string power lines behind an amphitheater and park along the Mahoning River.

City Law Director Jeff Limbian has filed a request with the Ohio Power Siting Board to intervene in the case of the Lincoln Park Riverbend Transmission Line Project.

FirstEnergy says the project would upgrade electrical facilities to reinforce the power grid and prevent or reduce the length of power outages.

A community group has already been formed to oppose the current plan to string 5 miles of 138-kilovolt power lines to the Riverbend substation.

Saying that the city has invested $10 million to build a riverfront park and amphitheater next to the Covelli Centre venue, Limbian states that the area has become an anchor of attraction and growth in the Central Business District.

"The visual aesthetics of an aerial transmission line would be an enormous detriment and would set back the progress of our downtown community,” states Limbian. "The recreational impact on the side of the Mahoning River will set back all plans to continue the riverfront development"

Limbian calls a second proposed route an aesthetic improvement, but says doesn’t take into consideration the detriment to the enjoyment of outdoor facilities at the south end of the city’s business district, noting that the Mahoning River is being repaired, cleaned, with dams being removed to return the river to a recreational area.

Claiming there is no significant difference between the two routes, Limbian says alternate plans have not been adequately explored.

Limbian suggests that putting the power lines underground would be better for recreational and economic considerations.

Saying that there has been no real consideration of Youngstown’s position on the plans, Limbian says the city’s most significant economic development resource in the last century would be “tarnished” by stringing high tensions wires in the backdrop.

The plan is still under consideration by the Ohio Power Siting Board.