Don’t destroy dams on Mahoning River
I write this on the subject of the ongoing controversy regarding the announced cleanup of the Mahoning River and the potential removal of nine dams.
As a retired civil engineer with decades of waste resources experience and being a long time historian of the rivers, lakes and canals of the region, I believe that notion is unnecessary, ill-conceived and too costly for taxpayers.
In particular, the Mahoning River dam (weir) at Leavittsburg is worthy of saving, still serves useful purposes, appears stable and poses no discernible detriment to the environment or the recreational activity.
At Girard, old Dam No. 2 in the Mahoning is a weir dating back to the once great Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal (1838 to 1872) and associated mills. It still serves an important function by pooling water upstream to McDonald Steel. On the left river bank, the stone wall of the old canal lock can be observed.
And further downstream in Youngstown, the old weir at Marshall Street was from the once tall, water-powered Baldwin Mill in the downtown business district.
It should be realized that rivers, mill streams, canals, locks and dams were umbilical to the early development of the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.
In maintaining wise stewardship of this 300-year heritage, it should behoove us today to preserve such suitable vestiges from our distant ancestors, thus passing them on to our distant posterity.
The Mahoning River can be cleaned up without destroying all dams.
RONALD D. REID PE