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Fund should focus on Appalachia

In November’s general election, Ohio voters said "yes" to State Issue 1 and authorized the state to issue $400 million in bonds to establish the Clean Ohio Fund.

Thursday, February 15, 2001

In November’s general election, Ohio voters said "yes" to State Issue 1 and authorized the state to issue $400 million in bonds to establish the Clean Ohio Fund.

The fund is to be used to clean up abandoned industrial sites and to preserve natural areas. Is there a better region for this program to focus on than Appalachian Ohio?

As the Legislature is still hashing out the language for the program, the Ohio Conservation and Environmental Forum – a coalition of 30 advocacy groups – is urging the state consider Appalachian Ohio as a high priority. We agree.

Over the years, the region has succumbed to economical setbacks which has, consequently, caused many companies to shut down facilities. Decrepit, abandoned industrial sites are not only an eyesore, but they also tend to hinder future development by scaring away prospective businesses.

In addition, the region boasts more state parks, forests and nature preserves than any other region in Ohio. With additional funding, these natural areas can implement improvement projects which, in turn, would allow the area’s tourism to grow.

We’re not suggesting that non-Appalachian projects should be excluded from the program. We just feel Gov. Taft and his administration should focus its attention where it is needed most.