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State should help cleanup

Lawrence County officials are hoping the state will pitch in and do its part to help remove a longtime eyesore along U.S. 52.

County commissioners applied recently for funding to continue reclamation work and demolish a series of buildings at the former Alpha Portland Cement plant. These buildings have long been a blight and their removal could open up a significant amount of developable property.

The Ohio Department of Development has notified the county that it is in line for a $239,534 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant to pay for Phase 2 of the three-phase project to clean up a portion of the old cement plant property just off Hog Run Road.

This would be a step in the right direction for the county because this land could potentially be returned to the tax base with improvements on it and provide some much needed land for commercial or residential development.

Some concern has been expressed over why now and why the state should help remove blight from a privately owned property. The reality is that the current owners didn’t create these problems and the buildings greatly hinder the ability for it to be returned to viable use.

This project is a long time coming and we hope the state takes this request very seriously.

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

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 fewer than 60 days.

Phase 3 would involve the actual demolition of the structure.

Getting this property cleaned up will help all of Lawrence County look better and have more to offer, regardless of who owns it or the reasons this is happening now.