YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The site of the proposed Enterprise Park project sits just north of the Eastwood Mall.
Its 55 acres would include medical facilities, office buildings and residential and other commercial developments.
The Cafaro Company, which owns the Eastwood Mall, and developers of Enterprise Park hope the project will spark economic development in the area.
But, other members of the community see the proposal as causing more harm than good.
Spokesperson of the Cafaro Co. Joe Bell says those against the project have ignored the good coming from it.
“We think it’s an important project and we think the opponents ignored the benefits of it.”
Friends of the Mahoning River met Monday night at the Oak Hill Collaborative in Youngstown to lay out their next steps in fighting against the Enterprise Park project.
The group says the project will only benefit the Cafaro Company, will not create any new jobs and will permanently harm the wetlands surrounding the stretch of Mosquito Creek in Howland Township.
Joe Bell of the Cafaro Co. says this will help people in and around Trumbull County.
“This project will create jobs — an estimated 2,200 jobs. It will improve healthcare delivery, educational promises, as well as other services for people in Trumbull County and the surrounding areas.”
The group plans to continue the fight with the Ohio EPA and with the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The 404 permit with the Army Corps of Engineers… and at the same time we are also, as I said, we are going to file an appeal for the 401 permit application that was approved already by the Ohio EPA,” said Patricia Dunbar, president of Friends of the Mahoning River.
The group would like to see the Cafaro Company develop on land that is less sensitive, such as next to the current St. Joseph’s Hospital, next to the Kent State-Trumbull campus or on the old St. Joe’s campus on Tod Avenue.
Bell says they have had all plans approved by the Ohio EPA.
“This particular group of opponents has consistently ignored the facts surrounding Enterprise Park project. They have asserted that it’s going to hurt the environment, and in fact, it actually not only protects the wetland, it creates more of them.”
Bell says the company has a good track record and has done a lot of research to ensure minimal impact of the environment.
“We’ve been very careful to do our homework and learn from our experience to make sure what we can do to preserve our environmental integrity is done. We went to great lengths to study this particular project — the Enterprise Park project — and we’re able to demonstrate to the Ohio EPA how we were caring for the environment. How we were making sure that wetlands were preserved and that there would be minimal impact on water quality in the area.”
Bell added that there will not be additional flooding that comes with this project.
“The technology for stormwater management has advanced by leaps and bounds and we intend to use the latest technology to make sure the potential for flooding is something that we can avoid.”
Friends of the Mahoning River plans on making their appeals within the upcoming few weeks.