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Perry Nuclear Power Plant shutting down, could have devastating affect on community

Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 20:06:08-04

First Energy announced Wednesday night it will be shutting down the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, taking with it jobs and stability from the Perry community.

It's a fear people in Perry have been living with for years, but life without the plant is now a reality, and residents are devastated. They say they hope their small community will be able to survive without the power plant and the tax dollars that come from it. For years, Perry Township and its villages in Lake County have relied heavily on those tax dollars, keeping roads in good condition, funding the fire department and building schools.

"This was an area to consider moving into, and the schools, number one the schools were top notch," said the Village of Perry mayor Vicky Stevens.

But in a few years, that could all change.

"Decrease is always a very devastating thing when you are figuring out budgets," Mayor Stevens said.

First Energy Solutions said the Perry Nuclear Power Plant will be deactivated in 2021. Over 700 jobs will be lost, tax dollars will vanish, and Mayor Stevens said the people will leave, too.

"The last thing we want to see is vacant homes on our streets, because we know once the homes become vacant, that's when the crime rate goes up," Mayor Stevens said.

Local businesses will suffer, too. 

"We get a lunch crowd, we get an evening crowd and we get a morning rush all from the nuclear power plant," said Raymond Peteritis, owner of the Perry Village Market and Cafe.

Peteritis relies heavily on the plant workers to patronize his decade old business. He's already considering ways to survive without them.

"Obviously I'm going to try and rethink how I run my business and how to advertise."

But all hope might not be lost just yet. First Energy Solutions is petitioning the Department of Energy to help stop the closures. Still, Mayor Stevens said she's preparing for the worse.

"It's going to be devastating. It's devastating anytime you lose anything like this, but this is going to be major devastation," Mayor Stevens said.

The Perry plant is only one of three plants expected to close in the next couple of years. The Davis-Besse plant in Oak Harbor is also set to close, as well as the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.