Lowellville Completes Canoe Livery Project, First Phase in Riverfront Park

LOWELLVILLE, Ohio — Kayakers and canoers looking to navigate the waters of the Mahoning River will have a new launch site.

Work has wrapped up on a new livery here along the river, part of an overall development strategy in the village that includes economic revitalization projects and quality of life improvements. 

“It’s really the start of economic development in Lowellville,” says Mayor Jim Iudiciani.  “There are some items left on the punch list, but the concrete is poured and it’s done.”

The mayor reports work on the development restrooms is nearly complete and should be ready for a scheduled ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 10. 

Iudiciani says that the livery project cost $114,000 and was funded through a $57,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and another $57,000 match from the village. Another $175,000 was spent to construct the restrooms, the costs split between ODNR and the village, he said.

It’s the first spinoff project since the Lowellville dam was removed last year. That $2.3 million project has opened this section of the Mahoning River to additional sport and recreation, and anchors future interest and development in the village, Iudiciani says.

Future plans call for developing adjacent land into a larger riverfront park, the mayor says. The park would include walking paths, kiosks representing Lowellville history, and benches along the river.  There is also the potential of a disc golf course and other recreational opportunities.

Completing the riverside development is just one phase of a multi-faceted effort to redevelop the village.  Recently, SOBE Thermal Energy LLC received the go-ahead from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to purchase Youngstown Thermal, a district steam heating system in downtown Youngstown.

Part of the overall plan for that system is to construct a $9 million co-generation plant in Lowellville. The plant would shred and recycle materials such a rubber tires and plastics and convert the waste into synthetic gas feedstock for the Youngstown operation.

It is not clear when construction on the 100,000-square-foot recycling plant would begin. 

Iudiciani said improvements are planned for McGaffney Street to accommodate the project, tentatively located on the south side of the river where the former Sharon Slag works were located. The immediate plan would be to extend McGaffney another 700 feet into a wooded area to serve 10 acres there.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.