Our Towns

East Liverpool’s Broadway Wharf Gets a Facelift

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — For centuries, the Ohio River has played a vital part in this city’s industrial development, and in more recent years, officials turned to the river to offer their residents recreational pursuits with construction of the Broadway Wharf.

On Saturday, the wharf received a much-needed cosmetic face-lift with funds from a ServeOhio grant secured by Mayor Ryan Stovall, who joined other volunteers at the river’s edge to kick off the project.

“As part of the grant application, ServeOhio likes applicants to partner with youth organizations. So I reached out to the Boy Scouts, and they were very receptive,” Stovall said.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 2012, based in East Liverpool, volunteered to paint the decking and railings, using paint purchased with the $1,000 grant.

Assistant Scoutmaster Jacob Rodgers said the scouts must log a certain number of service hours for each rank they attain, and the project was providing some of those hours.

The troop has 19 active members, with 10 working toward Eagle Scout rank, according to adult leader Shannon Karnosh.

In addition to the scouts, Stovall lent his hand to the painting, while Councilman-at-Large Ernest Peachey removed the wooden lettering from the wharf and painted it. City street employee Patrick McMains volunteered his time to cut grass and weeds.

East Liverpool Mayor Ryan Stovall joined other volunteers Saturday, painting and sprucing up the Broadway Wharf, using funding from a ServeOhio grant he secured.

Milligan’s Hardware benefited from the project with the purchase of about 20 gallons of special deck paint, according to Stovall.

Materials will also be purchased to replace wood at the front of the facility damaged from recent flooding, he said, with city workers expected to do that work.

Mason Color, next door to the wharf, offered an additional $1,000 grant, which the mayor said he plans to use for promoting activities at the wharf.

With the Broadway Wharf parallel to a busy railroad track, Stovall said he would like to install fencing between the parking area and tracks to provide a safer venue for those visiting the facility, especially for movie nights that would attract children.

Stovall’s long-term goals for the wharf include a boardwalk along the shoreline, allowing people to visit and park so they can go uptown and visit museums and retail shops.

While the volunteers were working Saturday at the wharf, local businessman Ray Trevelline stopped by, and after learning about the project, donated a variety of goodies for their lunch from his downtown restaurant, The Hot Dog Shoppe.

Also donating their time Saturday on a related project nearby were city employees from the street, water and refuse/recycling departments.

The employees spent the day ridding two public parking lots of overgrown trees, weeds and debris that had been dumped there from various digging projects over a period of 10-15 years.

Service safety director Brian Allen and deputy director Rick Rudibaugh were also donating their time to drive dump trucks for that project.

Allen said that since Stovall took office, he has wanted to establish boat trailer parking for the Broadway Wharf, so when he heard the mayor was planning the painting project Saturday, he arranged the cleanup of the former parking lots.

The lots were installed by the Ohio Department of Transportation when it built the highway through the city, according to Allen. “They were used for boat parking at one time,” he said.

The city provided the equipment for clean-up the lots, but employees donated their time, he said.

Allen said the cleanup would probably require more than just one day to complete. “We’re cleaning her out,” he said as he dumped yet another load from the truck he was driving.

Historical plaques posted at the wharf note that Fawcettstown, now East Liverpool, was the first community encountered by early river travelers. The city’s border with Pennsylvania is, in fact, the “point of beginning” from which survey of the Northwest Territory was begun in 1786. 

The view of the Ohio RIver from the Broadway Wharf in East Liverpool.

Former Mayor James Scafide, contacted about Saturday’s project, said the Broadway Wharf was started in 1986, before he took office, with just the wooden barn-like structure that dominates the facility.

It was built using Ohio Department of Natural Resources funding secured by then-city planning director Gerald Schonhut, and Scafide said county engineer Bert Dawson designed the structure.

When Scafide was elected, general fund revenue was used to cut the “windows” in the structure so visitors could view the river, and he designed the decking structure that now exists.

Scafide said he had help in his plans from current school board member Larry Walton, former owner of The Camera Mart, who donated the cost of developing the photographs Scafide took of the shoreline, with which he used to prepare the design plans.

Local contractor Mark Hissom, currently a member of the city park board, installed the decking.

Also during Scafide’s administration, another ODNR grant was used to replace the brick boat ramps – which he believed were once part of First Street – with concrete, widening them, installing guardrails, upgrading sidewalks and lighting and installing Pier 39 with the assistance of Bill Price and his tugboat company.

Again using general fund money, a sanitary sewer hook-up was installed to accommodate stern-wheelers, including the River Rose, the commercial boat owned byPrice and his wife Mary, but also the Delta Queen and Gateway Clipper fleet.

Hearing of Stovall’s plans, Scafide – who no longer lives in the area – said: “I’m glad the mayor is making the wharf a priority. I’ve always loved it down there. It’s a beautiful spot, and I look at it as one of my best accomplishments as mayor. It’s a communion between between the people and the river and among the people themselves, who share a common appreciation for its beauty.”

Pictured: East Liverpool city councilman Ernest Peachey removes the letters from the Broadway Wharf so he can paint them as part of a face-lift project that took place at the facility Saturday.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.