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Demolition of former St. Joe’s hospital takes step forward

City receives $3.4M in state funds for remediation

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Here is an exterior view of the derelict former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital in Warren on Tuesday, the day it was announced the city is getting a $3.4 million grant from the state to help demolish the eyesore this year.

WARREN — The former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital is planned to be torn down this year.

A $3.4 million grant for the environmental remediation and demolition of the former Tod Avenue NW hospital, awarded through the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program on Tuesday, will provide what is expected to be the final amount needed.

Gov. Mike DeWine will join members of the Warren community to discuss remediation and demolition plans 10:30 a.m. today at the site, 1307 Tod Ave. NW, his office announced.

The money was awarded to the Trumbull County Land Reutilization Corporation, or land bank. The massive building was utilized as St. Joseph Riverside Hospital from the late 1950s through 1995 and had undergone multiple additions since its construction in 1923.

The property will have an environmental remediation, including potential petroleum and other subsurface hazards associated with off-site laundry facility on west end of property. The property will be demolished, and new soil will be brought in to ensure the property is able to be redeveloped, either for residential or commercial / industrial development.

The award is part of more than $60 million in funding designed to help Ohio communities clean up dozens of contaminated properties to make way for future economic development.

“In January, we applied to receive help for $11 million worth of projects,” Shawn Carvin, executive director of the land bank, said. “The hospital’s demolition was one of six projects the agency sought assistance to receive. It was the largest of the projects.”

THERE’S MORE

In addition to the $3.4 million for the hospital’s demolition, the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program also is awarding $5,000 to assist Trumbull Industries with a Phase I environment assessment. The total assessment cost is about $8,000.

Originally the Van Huffel Tube Company from the 1930s until 1985, the 135-acre site later was divided into four parcels, three of which are occupied and used for warehousing and manufacturing. The project assessment is to determine if a release of hazardous substances or petroleum may have occurred. After assessment and any needed remediation, existing structures can make needed upgrades.

Carvin is awaiting word on the other four projects for which it submitted proposals.

“These hazardous, decaying sites, some of which have been vacant for decades, are barriers to economic growth and community revitalization. But now, we’re going to help breathe new life into these areas,” DeWine said. “The projects we’re funding will not only revive these sites for new development, but they’ll also improve quality of life and open the door for exciting new opportunities for the citizens of our state.”

PREVIOUS AWARD

For St. Joseph Riverside, the land bank in 2021 was awarded a $2.5 million grant from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The hospital is in the possession of the land bank.

Officials estimate the cost of the hospital demolition would be around $5 million.

Mostly unused since the emergency room closed in June 1996, the vacant building now is home to empty beer cans, broken glass, jagged remains of the pipes cut away for scrap, graphic graffiti, animals and vagrants.

It sits in a residential neighborhood and is next to active facilities, including an outpatient clinic, a Veterans Affairs clinic and even a domestic violence shelter for women and children.

WILL BE SOON

Mayor Doug Franklin said the city recently had the bid opening for the demolition of the building and is reviewing the bids. Officials are expected to announce the company to be awarded the contract for the demolition within the next several weeks.

The winning company is expected to begin demolishing the hospital within a month of the award, according to Franklin.

The city announced earlier this year the hospital would be demolished, regardless of the brownfield grant approval. It considered using a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay a portion of the demolition.

“We are pleased we will be able to demolish it without either using general fund or ARP funds,” Franklin said.

Once the building is demolished, the city, in the short-term, likely will transform the area to a park setting with benches and other amenities.

In the medium- and longer-term planning, the city will look at how the property can be used for possible development projects. Being located in a mostly residential area, Franklin said portions may be used for new houses or a different type of development.

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