A newly announced state program will provide more than $1 million to Clark County to help identify and cleanup former industrial or landfill sites so that they can be used for new development.
The program targets brownfield sites in Ohio — abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial, commercial, or institutional property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by known or potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum.
Brownfield sites in Ohio are primarily identified through voluntary reporting.
“Sadly, many of these potential brownfield sites have been surrendered to the state after being abandoned by their previous owners,” said Ohio Representative Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield., in a press release.
Clark County is the home to several of these sites, including the Tremont City Barrel Fill as well as the former Springfield Landfill at I-70 and Ohio 72.
The former landfill site is an important property that is now wooded and undeveloped land. It could be more valuable in terms of economic development, ushering investment in that part of the county, said Ethan Harris, the director of Community Development for Clark County.
However, the former Springfield landfill site is not able to be developed because of environmental concerns such as traces of the chemical benzene in the soil.
Money provided by the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program can help turn that site into something that can be used for economic development. Funds can also be applied to former industrial sites throughout the Clark County and city of Springfield, Harris added.
The grant program was created as part of House Bill 110, which included the state operating budget, and will provide nearly $350 million to aid those revitalization efforts in the state.
The initial $1 million grant is earmarked for each county to promote equal access across the state, according to the news release from Koehler. An additional $500,000 has been allocated to counties for the demolition of blighted properties.
Additional grant allocations through the program will be distributed based on applications and will be allocated and administered through the Department of Development on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The program opened this month and the Department of Development will be accepting applications until all funds are exhausted.
Harris said that Clark County is still in the process of identifying sites and projects that would benefit from that money.
He said past challenges to brownfield remediation has been related to getting access or ownership to those properties as well as the securing of funding for those projects.
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