The Ohio Department of Development will support the Northern Wood County Port Authority’s assessment project with a commitment of Clean Ohio Assistance Funds to clean up industrial property at the former Libbey-Owens-Ford (LOF) site in Northwood.
City Administrator Pat Bacon said $297,968 in brownfield redevelopment funds will be used to finance Phase II of an environmental assessment of the Industrial and Warehouse project on East Broadway.
The assessment will determine the environmental suitability of the property and the possible need for any remediation, said Bacon.
“The soil is contaminated. There’s no doubt about it,” said Bacon. “There used to be a paint shop there. There’s a huge building at the back of the property. It’s an ideal building for someone to relocate. For that to be an industrial park again, it just simply needs to be cleaned up because it’s contaminated. It’s very expensive to do.”
“Right now, no one is going to want to go in there because of the environmental issues,” said Mayor Mark Stoner.
Rex Huffman, general counsel for the Northern Wood County Port Authority, which applied for the grant, said there is still a hearing with the state controlling board before the funds will be released.
“We’ve gotten, over the first hurdle to get that grant. We have one more hurdle to get over, a hearing with the controlling board that will issue the funds. It looks pretty good, we made it through the first wave of scrutiny,” said Huffman.
The site used to be part of the Libbey-Owens-Ford glass factory.
“I don’t think the building will be torn down. It has some real value. The goal is to find some industrial user who can use that space,” said Huffman.
“It’s an excellent area for industrial development. It’s already zoned for industrial. There’s rail, gas, all the utilities there that you need for heavy industry. By getting the property cleaned up, we’ll have a site ready to move into. Not many sites like that around,” said Huffman.
Communities prefer that business and industry clean up an older site, or “brownfields,” for redevelopment rather than buy up green fields. Frequently, state and federal grants are available for brownfields redevelopment.
“We’re not going out and buying 40 acres of farmland when we got this sitting here that used to be industrial. The infrastructure is there,” said Bacon.
“It’s beneficial to reuse property instead of going out and getting a piece of land nobody’s been on,” said Stoner. “This is great news because it will help to clean up a brownfield site that has been vacant for years and promote its use as a new viable industrial park,” added Bacon.