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Great Lakes Article:

Deserted work sites share cleanup funds
Ohio grants cover rehab of facilities
By Steve Murphy
Toledo Blade
12/10/03


Because of state grants announced yesterday, Napoleon officials look forward to replacing a junkyard with a manufacturing facility.

In Sandusky, planners expect to knock down three decrepit, 19th century factory buildings along Lake Erie and erect condominiums in their place.

And in Toledo, an industrial waste site eventually will be cleaned and used for riverfront housing.

Those are among 18 projects receiving a total of almost $40 million from the Clean Ohio Fund, which voters approved three years ago as a way to rehabilitate polluted, abandoned industrial sites.

"The Clean Ohio Fund is a powerful tool that helps communities jump-start economic development," Gov. Bob Taft said.

State officials chose the grant recipients after reviewing 22 applications for a total of $54 million, said Mike Logan, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Development.

"Itís a really hard decision, because all the communities and projects that were submitted were very good projects, but thereís only so much money," he said.

A $2.7 million award to Napoleon revives plans to clean up an auto salvage yard along State Rt. 424 to make room for a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing/warehouse facility.

City officials had announced plans early last year to clear the 62-acre site of Hogrefe Auto Parts, which is filled with nearly 7,000 old cars and tires, plus an old landfill. But the project was stalled when Napoleonís application for a $2.6 million state grant was rejected in July, 2002.

City Manager Jon Bisher said Napoleon officials revised their grant application with help from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

During a presentation Monday to state officials, the city touted its cleanup and redevelopment of a 15-acre site next to the junkyard.

Earlier this year, a packaging firm, Wepack, began operations in a building erected by the city on Commerce Drive. The company now employs 25 people.

"On one side of the road, youíve got jobs and this building, and on the other side youíve got auto wrecks, and thatís why it was important for us to move ahead with this project," Mr. Bisher said.

The city is hoping to revitalize the site in connection with plans by the state to replace U.S. 24 between Napoleon and Waterville.

The Henry County Community Improvement Corp. has estimated that the brownfield project could create up to 5,000 jobs over 10 years.

In Sandusky, the cityís $3 million award will buy and refurbish property occupied by three former industrial buildings to accommodate a lakefront condo development. The Chesapeake Building, the Keller Building, and the Tricor Building were used for industrial production starting in the 1890s.

The Erie County city has tried for years to spruce up its waterfront, which includes the Cedar Point amusement park.

Toledo is receiving $3 million to purchase a former Pilkington waste disposal site at I-75 and Miami Street that will be turned into a development of condos, townhouses, and businesses.

The 44-acre property along the eastern bank of the Maumee River is next to the Pilkington North America glass plant that straddles the Toledo-Rossford border.


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