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County may get funds to clean up Alpha Portland site

Lawrence County should know by the end of the month if the state will help in the on going process of demolishing the former Alpha Portland Cement Plant buildings.

Commissioner Les Boggs said the Ohio Department of Development has notified him the old Alpha Portland Cement site is in line for a $239,534 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant to pay for Phase 2 of a three-phase project to make the portion of the old cement plant property just off Hog Run Road usable again.

Phase 1 was completed this spring and involved a visual survey of the land and review of necessary records.

Phase 2 would entail installing monitoring wells, conducting soil samples and an asbestos survey along with evaluation of the information obtained with these processes. It would take less than 60 days.

Phase 3 would involve the actual demolition of the structure.

“This is one of the things I heard most about when I was running (for commissioner), ‘is there anything you can do to help?’” Boggs said.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Jason Stephens said two regional projects were presented last week to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s annual Transportation Review and Advisory (TRAC) meeting in Columbus for possible funding in future ODOT budgets.

Local officials presented information on Phase 2 of the Chesapeake Bypass while Gallia County officials presented information on a proposed feasibility study on building a connector between Proctorville and Bidwell.

“It was a good presentation,” Commissioner Jason Stephens said. “I’m not sure how they’re going to do it all, they’ve only got so much funds.”

Local officials asked for $187 million. Most of that amount, $160 million, would be for actual construction. The rest would pay for right of way acquisition, planning and design.

One humorous moment in the presentation came when local officials mentioned the project has been in the planning stages for 50 years but only partly funded and that was within the last 10 years. This came, apparently, as a bit of a surprise to new ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris.

“She looked and said ‘did you say 50, 5-0 years?’” Stephens recalled.

Phase 1A and Phase 1B have been completed and federal money has been allocated for land acquisition for Phase 1B.