East Liverpool secures $1.1m grant for school site – Business Journal Daily

Update 12:34 | Fixed first round total to $60 million, not $90 million
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — A $1.1 million brownfields remediation grant was awarded Tuesday to the Columbiana County Land Reutilization Corp., better known as the Land Bank, by Lt. Gov. John Husted to be used for the remediation and demolition of the former East Junior High School in the East End of the city.

At an afternoon press conference attended by state, county and city officials, Husted said he and Gov. Mike DeWine designed the sanitation grant program brownfields during the pandemic to “help jump-start the redevelopment of our communities”.

A total of $350 million has been made available through the 2021 semi-annual state budget on a first-come, first-served basis for communities and entities that request it. In this first round of funding, $60 million was available. While Husted was in East Liverpool to announce the award, he said DeWine was touring Mansfield and Canton awarding similar grants.

County Commissioner Mike Halleck introduced Husted, calling him “a good friend of Columbiana County.”

The funding program, Husted explained, will help communities acquire brownfield sites, assess their contamination, remove hazardous substances and prepare them for economic development.
The Brownfields Remediation Program is part of Ohio Builds’ infrastructure-focused mission.

Husted said there’s been great interest in the program, particularly around news that microchip maker Intel is investing more than $20 billion to build a factory in the Columbus area.

“The largest economic development project in the free world is happening in Ohio, with Intel choosing Ohio to build semiconductors here,” Husted said. “We get a lot of calls from a lot of places. Businesses want to come to Ohio, but they need to go now. Businesses want to grow and these sites need to be cleaned up and turned into opportunities. »

The old Maryland Avenue High School was built in 1954 and operated as a school until 1982, after which it was opened sporadically for a variety of uses until its final closure in 2017.

The property was traded in 2012 by the city’s school district to the city for land near Pope Street, and the city transferred ownership of the property to the Community Improvement Corporation last September for development.

Once the building is sanitized and razed, the six-acre plot can be used for many purposes, Husted pointed out. “It can be used for business development, residential housing, a sports complex, a park or anything else the community finds value and just doesn’t have the money to get started,” he said. he declares.

The grant program will run until the full $350 million is claimed. “It doesn’t have to stop here. You can opt for another round for other important projects. Let the revitalization begin. said Husted.

Also speaking at the press event, State Senator Michael Rulli said one of his first steps after his election was to tour the district and see a lot of brownfield sites and dilapidated homes. that needed to be addressed before development could take place.

During a city tour with Mayor Greg Bricker, Rulli said he discovered different resources were not being used due to the burn, and one in particular he noted was the abandoned school, where he and the mayor spent an entire Saturday cleaning up with their sleeves rolled up.

“The mayor’s idea was to raze the building and create something new,” Rulli said.

Calling it a “great day for East Liverpool”, Bricker said his top priority upon being elected was to rid the area of ​​the blight, saying the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. conducted a survey recognizing the town’s dilapidated and abandoned houses as well as industrial wastelands.

Bricker thanked the Columbiana County commissioners for providing the city’s share of the $1.1 million grant, as well as DeWine and Husted. “Without (them), this would not be possible. There are people fighting for the small town of East Liverpool in Columbus, and I can’t thank them enough,” he said.

Bricker said the possibilities for the Maryland Avenue property are “endless.” Various ideas are being considered and that in order to bring young people back to the city, one has to provide the amenities they want, he said.

Asked when work could begin on the property, Bricker said the project was a partnership with the county’s Land Bank and they would get back to work after the grant funding was announced.

After the press conference, CIC President Pat Scafide said bids will have to be put out for the cleanup and demolition of the property, but he expects the work could be completed by the fall.

Penny Traina, Executive Director of the Port Authority of Columbiana County, spoke about the importance of the land bank program to the county. She praised the program’s executive director Hayden Panezott and county economic development director Tad Herold, saying there is considerable collaboration between the three departments as well as with state, county and local authorities.

Traina also thanked DeWine and Husted for having the foresight to recognize the importance of the brownfields remediation program.

Speaking on the residential aspect of the Land Bank scheme, Thompson Avenue resident Jay Crago bought and rehabilitated a house under the scheme. It took more than a year to complete, he said, but neighbors watched with excitement as the project took shape.

In the end, the house was sold to a family who then resold it for a profit of $30,000.

“The profit is not the important part,” Crago said. “It makes me feel good to see people coming back here. All in all, it’s a very good program and obviously the money coming from the state to continue it is crucial.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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