Youngstown Files Motion to Intervene In FirstEnergy Plan

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The city has filed papers with the Ohio Power Siting Board seeking to intervene and quash FirstEnergy’s plan to construct high-tension power transmission lines along the newly developed riverfront downtown.

According to the motion, Law Director Jeff Limbian said that the project would “set back all plans to continue the riverfront development.”

FirstEnergy unveiled plans last year to run aerial power transmission lines along the Mahoning River directly behind Wean Riverfront Park, the Covelli Centre and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre downtown.  The utility said the project is needed to improve power reliability and capacity to downtown and nearby areas.

The city says FirstEnergy’s plan would mar the major investments the community has poured into the riverfront over the last decade, including the $42 million Covelli Centre and the $10 million amphitheater.

“These facilities have quickly become an anchor of attraction and growth in the central business district,” Limbian wrote. “The visual aesthetics of an aerial transmission line would be an enormous detriment and would set back the progress of our downtown community.”

An alternative route that runs on the opposite side of the river would improve the aesthetics, but still doesn’t address the overall impact on quality of life issues downtown, the motion reads. 

“Neither of the options adequately consider the tremendous liability to the enjoyment of the outdoor facilities that were strategically placed on the southern end of the central business district.”

Instead, the city urged that FirstEnergy consider an underground power line along the project route. 

Business and community organizations have forcefully voiced opposition to the project. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.