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IPA awarded $280K in Brownfield grants

IRONTON — The revitalization of the Ironton’s downtown riverfront took another step forward Tuesday when the state awarded the city $280,000 in grants for a needed environmental study for the area.

The grant will fund the installation of 15 monitoring wells, 64 shallow soil borings, and 20 deep soil borings to determine the toxicity of the ground of nearly 20 acres on Center Street owned by the city of Ironton and the Ironton Port Authority.

The assessment will determine the environmental suitability of the property and the possible need for any remediation.

“These grants now open the door to the studies for the development of riverfront property,” said Ironton Port Authority President Mike Haas.

Awarded by the Ohio Department of Development, the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant is used to aid in Brownfield redevelopment of Ohio’s urban areas. The exact amount of the grant was $279,962.

Brownfield’s are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for rehabilitation or re-use.

However, expansion of a facility may be complicated by environmental contaminations.

Brownfield sites exist in a city’s industrial section or area that contains abandoned factories, commercial buildings or previously polluting operations

Typical contaminants found on contaminated Brownfield lands include hydrocarbon spillages, solvents, pesticides, heavy metals such as lead and asbestos.

Haas said the property receiving the grant had a variety of industry on it in its history including a blast furnace, off-loading facility and a salvage yard.

“We are proud to offer support through the Clean Ohio Fund to help increase opportunities for economic development by cleaning up Brownfield sites,” said Ohio Department of Development Interim Director Mark Barbash. “The grants are an excellent resource to help revitalize Ohio’s physical assets and improve the quality of life for all Ohioans.”

One of the “long term” downtown redevelopment goals for the city, the 20-acre plot is owned by the city (16 acres) with the remaining four acres sandwiched between them.

The Ironton Port Authority purchased the remaining four acres in October 2007 from Ronnie Brammer.

Ideas for the property include room for walking trails, green spaces, picnic areas and other recreational amenities. Other preliminary ideas have room for a small restaurant and a boat launch.