The Summit Street Dam, a contentious structure called a "drowning machine" by the Warren Fire Chief, is finally set to be demolished by the end of 2024.

The dam, known as a low-head dam, was originally used to create water flow for grain mills, power generation, and create water retention areas. While those uses have mostly ceased, many of the structures have remained, causing high-turbulence areas in rivers which are difficult to escape.

In 2017, a 12-year-old Austintown girl almost drowned near the dam. In the spring of 2020, police and a bystander helped rescue a 41-year-old woman from the river when her canoe capsized near the dam.

That case ended up going to court after the woman, Lisa Zitello of Austintown, ended up in a coma following the incident. The case will have it's final pre-trial hearing on May 9th of 2024, before going to jury trial on May 20th that same year.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers website, more than 1,400 fatalities have occurred at structures in rivers like low-head dams, which have caused more deaths in the last 20 years in the U.S. than any other kind of dam.

The project to remove the dam, which was originally approved in 2021, is expected to cost $3,225,500. Those funds will come from several outlets, primarily grant and loan funds focused around restoring water resources and controlling pollution.

$1,725,500 Will come from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Water Pollution Control Loan Fund, and another $1.5 million from the State of Ohio.

RiverReach Construction was chosen by the City of Warren to conduct the demolition project, with a bid of $3,001,519. Their plan was approved by EPA representatives and the city engineer.

According to Paul Makosky, Director of Warren's Engineering, Planning, and Building Department, tells 21 News that the project should start "soon" and that the dam "will be demolished by the end of 2024."