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Old St. Joseph Riverside Hospital tops remediation list

WARREN — The old St. Joseph Riverside Hospital is one of six sites identified in Trumbull County’s first-round application for the Ohio Department of Development’s Brownfield Remediation Program.

The former hospital on Tod Avenue NW in Warren is considered a brownfield because of the extensive amount of asbestos and other hazardous materials at the site, according to Shawn Carvin, Trumbull County Land Bank director.

A previous grant from the Ohio Department of Development allowed the city of Warren to do the first two phases of environmental review on the site, Carvin said. The new grant money would allow for remediation and demolition of the building, long considered an eyesore and a public health hazard.

The board of the Trumbull County Land Bank, at its regular meeting Tuesday, approved the submission of the Brownfield Remediation Program application, due Jan. 28. The money sought totals between $10 million and $12 million, including the local 25 percent match, according to Carvin.

Guidelines for the $500 million of state money set aside for demolitions and brownfield remediation were released Dec. 17. Of the money available statewide, $350 million is allotted for brownfields and $150 million for demolitions. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties is allocated $1 million for brownfields and $500,000 for commercial demolition — the rest of the money is available for projects on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Carvin.

In addition to the old St. Joe’s, the land bank is seeking funding for remediation at the county-owned Wean Building, which previously housed the Planning Commission, among other entities. That building, located near the current county Administration Building in downtown Warren, has fallen into a state of “significant disrepair,” Carvin said.

“We’re waiting on the (Trumbull County) commissioners to make a decision on what the final end use is going to be there,” Carvin said of the Wean Building. The state money would allow for the removal of hazardous materials, but it remains unclear whether the building will be demolished.

The other sites included on the application are a former Gasification Plant owned by the city of Warren and a private industrial property at 403 Main St., Niles, both of which are in need of remediation; the old Republic Steel blast furnace site on Pine Street SE in Warren, which is ready for Phase II review; and a property owned by Trumbull Industries in need of Phase I review.

Phase I involves basic review to identify hazardous materials, prior uses of the property and ownership history, according to Carvin. Phase II involves processes like boring into the ground to check for petroleum, testing the soil for containments and testing ground water.

Carver said the private properties chosen have potential for new development once they are remediated. In the cases of those properties, the land bank is working with the property owners to secure the 25 percent matching funds needed for the grant.

All of the sites in the first-round application had the documents needed readily available.

The land bank already has identified an industrial plant in McDonald, a site owned by Diversified Resources, and a radar facility in Brookfield as candidates for a second-round application. A third round also will be later this year.

The application for the first round of Ohio Department of Development’s Building Demolition and Site Revitalization funding is due in late February, Carver said. The land bank has identified 35 properties, some commercial and some residential, for that application, and is working with local communities to identify more sites for the second and third rounds.

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