Port seeks brownfield funds

YOUNGSTOWN – The Western Reserve Port Authority on Wednesday authorized its economic development staff to prepare and submit two applications for funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If approved, the money would be used to access and remediate brownfield sites in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, respectively.

Sarah V. Lown, senior manager of economic development, explained the applications are for up to $600,000 each.

She told the port authority at its meeting in Youngstown that there’s a possibility her department might need to submit a third application to EPA. She said the third one would focus on remediation and she expects to determine by the end of next week whether it will be necessary to apply for it.

She said one goal is to create a portfolio of properties in Trumbull, as has been done in Mahoning, and to find way of bringing the cost of developing those sites down.

She said WRPA is also looking for options through the Clean Ohio Fund to work on properties. That funding is also used to help clean up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities. She said Clean Ohio is an option if there is an end user – any party that makes a non-legally binding commitment to develop a site and create jobs.

A brownfield area is land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.

Lown explained there are more financing prospects in Mahoning than Trumbull and that there are fewer investments taking place in Trumbull right now.