County grant meeting being held on Oct. 19

Staff report

CRESTLINE — Crawford County is in the final stretch of its U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Community-wide Assessment Grant period. The grant is in the amount of $200,000 and was provided for the assessment of hazardous substances for sites being considered for redevelopment. The grant period ends Dec. 31 and Crawford County still has approximately $48,000 available. The assessment grant provides funds to inventory, characterize, assess, conduct planning, and community involvement activities related to brownfield sites. Site assessments can include Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, as well as Hazardous Materials Assessments (asbestos and lead in building materials).

The Brownfield Grant Community Meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Lowe-Volk Nature Center. It is an open forum meeting to discuss utilizing remaining grant funds before year-end.

This Economic Development tool has already benefited several properties in the county—including properties in Galion, Crestline and lots in the Crossroads Industrial Park that are now certified by Austin Consulting for Food and Beverage Manufacturing and are nearing state certification from the SiteOhio program. In addition, it has led to the planning of a clean-up project for a former AP Gas Station in Bucyrus. Thanks to the Crawford County Land Bank and the City of Bucyrus, Crawford County will go beyond what the USEPA Brownfields Grant covers and apply for a state Abandoned Gas Station Grant which, when awarded, will cover demolition, clean-up costs (including removing the underground tanks) and rehabilitation costs of the land—the City is planning to transform the dilapidated property into a greenspace with curb appeal, for example.

“The Brownfield grant is a great way to take land that is an eyesore and give developers an incentive to reclaim and reuse it—which improves the tax base for our county,” said Gary Frankhouse, Executive Director of the Crawford Partnership for Education and Economic Development and the county’s Economic Development director. “It’s win-win. We are hoping to take advantage of the remaining funds so our area can benefit even more, but we need help from the community to identify additional properties.”

The meeting will be facilitated by the county’s Environmental Consultant for the grant, Ann Winegar of SME and Lori Muller of the USEPA. It is open to the public, and local leaders from the cities of Bucyrus, Galion and Crestline will also be on hand to engage in the discussion.

The meeting will be informative but also proactive—applications for grant-funded assessments will be available should interested property owners wish to take advantage of this opportunity.

Most commercial or industrial properties are eligible for use of the grant funds.

* Have a commercial/industrial property for sale in Crawford County? The county can use the assessment grant funds to conduct environmental assessment and save the prospective purchaser that cost.

* Planning some renovations in your downtown business? Save yourself the cost of the required asbestos survey by having the county use the grant funds and have their consultant conduct the asbestos survey for you.

* Interested in purchasing a commercial/industrial property in the County, but want to find out if environmental issues exist before investing? The county can have their consultant conduct environmental assessment using the grant funds.

The grant is managed by the Crawford County Partnership for Crawford County and SME, an engineering and environmental consulting firm is the consultant on the grant project. For more information, contact Michelle Failor, grant administrator, at the Crawford Partnership, 419.563.1809, [email protected]

Staff report