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More asbestos abatement slows Alpha Portland clean-up project

Finding additional asbestos has delayed the start of demolition work on the former Alpha Portland Cement Co. plant.

Work started in mid-May on asbestos abatement with actual demolition scheduled to start in mid-June.

Originally crews believed they had removed all asbestos and were getting ready to start tearing down the concrete structures on the site. However, before that work began more asbestos was found.

At its regular Thursday meeting the county commissioners disbursed $169,106 from the Clean Ohio funds earmarked for the project.

“That is a good thing to make sure asbestos is not spread around,” Commission president Les Boggs said.

A year ago in June Lawrence County was among 17 statewide recipients of Clean Ohio Revitalization Grants, receiving $794,565 for cleaning up the former cement plant site.

When the land is remediated, Marietta Industrial Enterprise, a material handling company, has plans to put in a satellite distribution warehouse. The 30,000-square-foot warehouse to be built there is expected to bring 10 to 15 jobs to the county.

The site, off Hog Run Road in Upper Township ,has long been considered to be a blighted area by county officials. The plant dates back to the early 1800s when it opened as the Ironton Cement Co. In 1920 Alpha Portland purchased that plant, closing it in 1970 for financial reasons. There were 175 working at the plant at that time.

Right now the acreage is owned by the Ice Creek Land Co.

“Within the next 30 days we should see some demolition,” Boggs said. “It has been a long process, dealing with the EPA. We will be glad to see this eyesore torn down.”