LORAIN – City officials will gather Tuesday for a ceremonial demolition of one of the electrical power line towers along Lorain’s riverfront. Meanwhile, the building that appears to be the last relic of the former Lorain Pellet Terminal also is scheduled for razing next week. Contractors for Ohio Edison on Wednesday began cutting down the electrical towers in the southern area of Black River Landing and south of 8th Street off Broadway. Two were down by Thursday morning and crews were to continue working on another that afternoon. On Tuesday, Ohio Edison Regional President Randy Frame will join local officials for a ceremony marking the clearing of the towers from the riverfront, City Hall parking lot and 2nd Street. After a presentation, Frame and Mayor Chase Ritenauer will use machinery to pull over one of the metal lattice structures, said FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin. The ceremony is to begin at 11 a.m., with the tower demolition shortly after.
“We just wanted to do something a little special, so that’s what our plan is,” he said.
“It’s a momentous event,” Durbin said. “The towers served their purpose to serve electricity to the community, but things have changed. Now we’re taking them down so the area can be reused down the road.”
There are 24 towers, with 16 to be removed this year. Eight will remain in place as Ohio Edison delivers electricity to the Black River Wharf area off 14th Street, where crews are using an electric-powered tunnel boring machine to dig the city’s underground sewage conveyance tunnel. The eight towers will remain in place as needed to supply power for the tunnel excavation, Durbin said. Most recently, the towers carried wires that connected to the Edgewater Power Plant substation, 200 Oberlin Ave. The lines previously connected to the the Edgewater Power Plant, a coal-fired power plant at the same location, which was there since 1919. The waterfront power station was demolished in December 2010. Durbin estimated the lines and steel structures have been in place possibly as early as the 1920s.
“Typically, you would manufacture the power there and then it would go out to the neighborhoods on the towers,” Durbin said.
The lines remained connected to the Edgewater Power Plant substation, which also is being removed. Not much is left there, and on Oct. 8, workers will hoist a transformer onto a flatbed truck and move it from Lorain to Hudson for storage, Durbin said. Another vestige of Lorain’s industrial heritage will be removed starting about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when Cherokee Demolition of Cleveland takes down the remaining Lorain Pellet Terminal building at 203 Broadway. The blue building sits across from the Lorain Police Department. Cherokee Demolition owner Dave Nemec predicted the building will come down quickly once its siding and roof is removed.
“It’ll be down in no time,” he said.
The pellet terminal building will be replaced by a new Black River Tunnel Screenings Facility, a $3.7 million center that will help control processing of wastewater in the sewage conveyance tunnel. That building will sit at the north end of the sewage tunnel that runs under downtown Lorain between Broadway and the Black River. The sewage conveyance tunnel also includes a new control building at the southern end of the tunnel. That building will be located south of the Black River Wharf boat ramp and 14th Street. The Lorain Design Review Board this week approved plans for both buildings.