Coal Grove eyes funds to help tear down plant

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2002

COAL GROVE - More than 20 years after the Carlyle Tile factory closed its doors, the Coal Grove Village Council will apply for a Clean Ohio grant to fund the evaluation, and possibly, the demolition and removal of the structure.

"Council needed to be reassured that they would not be held liable," Mayor Tom McKnight said of the hesitance to apply. "The material was identified and the Environmental Protection Agency knows about it. (Owner) McGinnis Inc. is moving it out."

Although every member of council supported the removal of the factory that shut down in 1978, it looked as if the project was never going to take off because of legal concerns by the village.

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In August, Matt Wagner, representing SRW Environmental Services Inc. an environmental engineering and consulting firm from Milford, and Russ Painter, representing McGinnis, South Point, approached council about applying for a $10 million grant to evaluate the site.

Depending on the results, the village and SRW could then apply for an additional $40 million to revitalize the property.

Because of materials stored on the site and language in the application, council was hesitant to apply, did not pass a resolution of support and contacted the EPA.

Council received a letter from the Ohio EPA in September that stated that there was no indication of hazardous waste or illegal dumping at the site and that the materials would have no bearing on the grant application.

According to the letter, the material on-site was determined to be rod pitch, a usable by-product of coal tar. It is not a hazardous waste but does require personal protection equipment when handling.

The material was in the building when McGinnis bought it three years ago and was stored for Riley Industries, Indianapolis and Honeywell of Ironton. Rod pitch is used everyday in factories around the world, the letter stated.

In late September, Council voiced their support for the project but did not officially apply for funding. McKnight said that since then the EPA and SRW has again assured him that the village is not liable, either legally or financially, so the village will move forward.

"We are going to look forward to seeing it torn down," McKnight said. "The tile plant has been an eye sore for years. I have wanted to get rid of it since the mid-80s when it began deteriorating."

Ultimately, McKnight said he would like to see the property turned into an industrial park, but that village residents will be pleased to know the project is hopefully going to happen.

"The sentiment here in town, to get it torn down, is quite high," he said. "I know a lot of people will be pleased when they see actual work being done."

SRW has been doing preliminary work for the analysis phase of the work without any type of contract or financial compensation, he said.

McKnight said that it will probably be a slow project because of the probability of asbestos and that there is no timeline yet.

The Ohio Department of Development administers about $50 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Funds for restoring former industrial sites each year. Gov. Bob Taft created the program in 2000.