Port Shorts: ODOD Site Demolition & Remediation
Cincinnati has a deep industrial heritage. With that heritage comes a legacy of industrial buildings that have been abandoned or otherwise underutilized for an extended period of time. I'm Chris Meyer, director of industrial development here at The Port. The Port 's industrial strategy includes bringing new jobs, new industrial jobs, to the Greater Cincinnati area. To bring those jobs back, we need land, and most of the land in Hamilton County is already redeveloped, so we need to look at the underutilized properties, which includes Brownfield sites. A brownfield is an abandoned industrial site that requires remediation of the soil, the water, or perhaps the building. They may be contaminated with things like asbestos, petrochemicals, or heavy metals like mercury or arsenic. Even though an agency like The Port has the capacity to clean up these properties, the funding to do so is difficult to come by. The State of Ohio used to have a dedicated fund for brownfield remediation called the Clean Ohio Fund.
"In 2002, the State of Ohio set aside a funding source - it was a continual funding source, so it was an ongoing source of funds - to clean up brownfields throughout the state. Things like the American Can Building in Northside that would, I'm sure, still be empty today if the Clean Ohio Fund wasn't around." - Bill Fischer, Vice President of Community Development, The Port.
In 2021, the Ohio legislature appropriated funds to clean up these sites again. This was done in large part with the advocacy of different organizations working towards this goal.
"I am Alison Goebel, and I am the executive director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center. We have been talking and thinking and doing everything about brownfields for over a decade. In the last five or so years however, we really ratcheted up the advocacy work that we were doing. We and other experts think there's over 9,000 brownfield sites across the State of Ohio. They're located in every single county. This is not surprising given our industrial history as a state. We focused on just making sure that there is a clear talking point: Brownfields are a problem; funding can help solve this problem." - Alison Goebel, Executive Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center
The Ohio legislature set aside $500 million dollars for brownfield remediation and site demolition and site revitalization. Out of that $500 million, $150 was to go towards site revitalization, and $350 was to go towards brownfield remediation.
"This was funding that has not been seen before - gave a lot more latitude to be able to address the the issues facing each community." - Shawn Carvin, Executive Director, Ohio Land Bank Association
The Port applied for the remediation grant in Hamilton County due to the complexity of the properties we're managing already and our experience in handling these complicated properties. The Landbank was designated as the entity that was available to apply for demolition funds. The demolition site preparation program funding is flexible enough to allow for interior demolition so we could clean out the interior of the Brentwood Bowl.
"For the last 60 years or so, this is a staple bowling alley in the Northwestern portion of Cincinnati on Winton Road in Finneytown." - Matthew Utter, Co-Owner & Brewer, Highgrain Brewing
"The Township identified this site as one of the largest parcels in the Winton Road Corridor in Springfield Township that would be available for redevelopment." - Kathleen Kennedy, Assistant Administrator, Springfield Township
"We were approached by the Township - Springfield Township - to convert it into a brewery/tap room/restaurant and beer garden." - Matthew Utter
"We wanted to make sure that whatever happened here was done right and it was the right thing for the community. The entire site was eligible for the funding, the brownfield and remediation funds, So as you can see, the entire building has been demolished pretty much down to the studs and down to the shell. There was some asbestos here in the building that needed to be remediated, and so with those funds, we were able to take care of that. I am so grateful to The Port that they made all the communities aware of this funding that was going to be available. Without The Port's assistance, I wouldn't have even known about the funds." - Kathleen Kennedy
The state's brownfield program is making a difference by allowing us to get started with the work to remediate these properties. The Port was happy to collaborate with our community partners to advance the cleanup of these sites, and we're grateful to the State of Ohio for making these funds available.