Funds sought for cleanups, demolitions
WARREN — The Trumbull County Land Bank is working to obtain an $11 million grant to address six brownfield sites throughout the county over the next two years, and an additional $10 million grant for the demolition of 200 deteriorating buildings.
The initial $11 million grant, if approved, would come from Ohio’s Brownfield Remediation Program.
The state has $350 million available to provide to eligible communities, according to Shawn Carvin, director of the Trumbull County Land Bank.
“We applied for the grant in January,” Carvin said. “We should learn if we receive it sometime in March.”
If approved, the land bank will use a portion to help the city pay for the demolition the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital on Tod Avenue NW, Carvin said.
Mayor Doug Franklin last year announced the city will receive a $2.5 million grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency to have the asbestos removed from the hospital.
“The city committed to take down the hospital,” Michael Keys, director of Warren Community Development Department, said. “We received money from the state, but any additional money will help.”
It is estimated the cost will be about $5 million for the hospital demolition. Keys noted that communities, such as Warren, have several sites that require environmental cleanups but have limited funds to do the work.
City officials want to get any available land and buildings cleaned of any environmental hazards, especially on properties that may be developed.
“If we can get them cleaned up, then we can attract developers,” Keys said. “Developers don’t want to come in and do asbestos remediation on buildings or clean up properties that may have environmental hazards.”
Keys noted the city is tight on money, so it cannot do remediation without assistance from either the state or federal governments.
While waiting to hear about the brownfield grant, Carvin said the land bank also is applying for a $10 million grant from the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program, which has $150 million to provide to Ohio communities. The deadline to turn in that grant application is later in the month.
“We currently have all 200 properties identified,” Carvin said. “We are just working to gain the required documentation and permissions to perform the demolitions as part of the grant application.”
Of the 200, the land bank has all required documentation on 30 properties and is expected to have the remainder by the end of next week.
“If the properties are not currently condemned or on a community’s condemnation list, we are performing inspections to ensure the property is vacant, blighted and in need of demolition,” he said. “As part of the grant application, we will have photos of each property and a general writeup of the condition.”
If the land bank receives the brownfield grant, it has until the end of 2023 to use all of its funds, Carvin said.
The other commercial properties named in the grant application for asbestos and hazardous material remediation and / or demolition are:
• Former RG Steel Administration building, 999 Pine Ave.;
• Gassification plant, 326 S. Main St., Warren;
• Niles General Electric, 403 Main St., Niles;
• Trumbull Industries, 400 Dietz Road, Warren;
• The former RG Steel BDM site, which is industrial land being checked for environmental hazards.
Sam Miller, vice president of Trumbull Industries, said the grant will assist the company in a plan to clean up and remediate its Dietz Road facility.
“This will assist us in financing improvements of the building and retaining jobs,” Miller said. “The first phase of the grant will allow us to determine how much remediation that may need to be done. We don’t anticipate much being needed.”
The company also is looking at installing a new roof and improving its fabrication operations.
Trumbull Industries has about 300 employees, with about half working at the Dietz Road site. It fabricates kitchen and bathroom countertops.
“This will assist us in remaining a local industry,” Miller said.
Like the brownfield remediation grant, the land bank had to identify the properties it believes should be demolished for the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program.
Carvin said land bank officials have been contacting cities, villages and townships throughout the county to develop a list of sites that need to be razed.
Both grants require a 25 percent local contribution.
“We have secured match commitments from the private property owners we are working with under the brownfield remediation program,” Carvin said. “In addition, the city of Warren and the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners have committed funding for the required match under each program, and we are in conversation with local leaders to determine their ability to offer match commitment for the demolitions in their respective communities.”
As for the 30 commercial properties that will be demolished, among 200 identified: “We are working with local communities to identify the properties most in need of demolition in their respective areas,” Carvin said.
Some of these commercial properties are Warren’s former Community Development building, 418 Main; the former Wean Building owned by Trumbull County, 347 N. Park Ave.; and the 4-H building on the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.
Trumbull County commissioners last week approved the demolition of the Wean and 4-H buildings.