(Lorain) - A major step toward developing the riverfront of the Black River in Lorain became a reality Tuesday.

The first of 24 FirstEnergy electric transmission towers that line the river was demolished. Sixteen towers will be brought down this year, the rest in 2014.

The removal of the structures allows the city of Lorain to develop the riverfront which leaders have long sought to do but were deterred because of the towers.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer says the city can now approach developers with a 'straight face' and start accepting proposals for the prime riverfront real estate near the downtown area.

Ritenauer would like to see residential, retail, office, shopping and dining development. He also would like to see construction of a hotel on the banks of the Black River.

The mayor says the towers' removals makes his city competive. He credits FirstEnergy for having the willingness and capital to make future development along the Black River a reality.

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Photo by Carmen Angelo/WTAM 1100.)