As a 6-mile power line project created by FirstEnergy was shot down close to 2 years ago by members of the community and ultimately the State's Power Siting Board, an updated proposal is on its way. 

"This is a project that's meant to enhance and strengthen our infrastructure," explained Lauren Siburkis with FirstEnergy. "So that we can support the electrical needs of all of our residents for many years to come."

The updated proposal includes feedback from the community. It also includes new routes that avoid sensitive areas within reach, and reduce impact to property owners.

"The purpose of these meetings is to garner the public's interest and get the feedback that we need," explained Scott Humphrys with FirstEnergy. "From there, we can see where we can make changes, when applicable."

The proposal is to construct a new 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and provide a backup electric source for the Riverbend Substation and Lincoln Park Substation. Transmission lines can be considered the "superhighway" of an electrical grid. They generate large amounts of energy which is then moved to where it is needed. 

There are four alternative route options within the Riverbend Substation and Lincoln Park Substation. The public can voice their opinions and preferred route throughout the Ohio Power Sitting Board Standard Process. 

2022's main concern involved power lines cascading along Wean Park behind the Amphitheater and Covelli Centre. FirstEnergy will now erect the lines behind the tree line, out of sight out of mind.

FirstEnergy explained to 21 News on Wednesday there are two options considered for the power lines top cut through the Wean Park area.

One line would be adjacent to I-680 and would connect over to a common point, just east of Poland Avenue. The other option is a carryover from the original project along Woodland Avenue, which runs along the north side of the road.

“The outpouring concern that we had about the Covelli Centre and Amphitheater, we looked at ways to alleviate that concern," Humphrys said. "So what we did was relocate it to the complete opposite side of the river where we originally had one option."

"This infrastructure wont be in your face," Siburkis explained. "So we're not going to be putting it through open land through parks and recreational areas where people are gathering."

The OPSB is responsible for approving plans to create new energy infrastructure in Ohio.

It is comprised of 13 members which include:

  • Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Chair
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Ohio Department of Agriculture
  • Ohio Department of Development
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources 
  • Public engineer appointed by the governor
  • Solar and wind projects (two local community members)
  • Four non-voting legislative members

American Transmission Systems, Incorporated (ATSI)- a transmission subsidiary of FirstEnergy will apply and seek a decision from the OTSB.

The process includes pre-application, application, completeness, investigation, hearings, decision, and appeals. This can all take up to or over a year. In addition, permits and authorizations from federal, state, and local agencies will be acquired to complete the project. 

Another public information meeting will be held within the next month or two, which will provide public members another opportunity to learn more about the project. 

FirstEnergy hopes to apply for the project with the Power Siting Board in the coming year. The public can provide feedback on the project to the OTSB by emailing [email protected]