Economic Development

‘Friends’ Ask Court to Revoke Permit for Cafaro’s Enterprise Park Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Friends of the Mahoning River is seeking to overturn the permit issued in October by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would enable the Cafaro Co. to move forward on its proposal to build its Enterprise Park project on watershed land in Howland Township.

The appeal, a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court here.

At issue is the location of the 100-acre Enterprise Park project, which would allow “North Eastwood LLC to permanently impact 15.95 acres of wetlands and 1,608.5 linear feet of streams in Howland Township and the city of Niles. …The permit allows the project to permanently fill and destroy approximately 16 acres of high quality and unique urban wetlands in the Mosquito Creek watershed and the Mahoning River watershed,” the complaint states.

In issuing its permit, the Army Corp of Engineers relied upon the Cafaro Co.’s stated purpose for the project, namely “the construction of a new hospital facility and attendant medical/educational/residential campus facilities,” the appeal states.

“Upon information and belief, to date no binding commitment has been made by any medical entity to occupy the Enterprise Park Project.”

When first proposed, Mercy Health said it would build a new hospital at Enterprise Park. But 11 months ago, the health-care system said the project was on hold, citing “economic uncertainty” related to the closing of the General Motors Lordstown Complex.

“The process has yet to move past the evaluation stage,” said a spokesman for Mercy Health.

The Cafaro Co. has said the project, which would include a $250 million hospital, would create 2,200 jobs and generate $100 million in state and local taxes annually.

According to the permit, Cafaro has until Dec. 31, 2022, to complete the authorized work.

Friends of the Mahoning River is a nonprofit organization.

The group’s complaint asks the court to declare that the Army Corps based its decision on “inadequate public interest review, inadequate compensatory mitigation, and deficient alternatives analysis,” and revoke the permit. It was filed by attorneys for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Resources in Akron.

Pictured: Rendering of proposed Enterprise Park project.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.