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Old stations may get second chance

COAL GROVE — Right now gas prices are falling, but probably won’t get as low as they were once when the Gulf brand was pumped at Jim’s service station on Marion Pike in Coal Grove. That Coal Grove station, next to Wendy’s, was abandoned long ago, but may soon undergo a resurrection, though in a different guise.

On Monday work started to raze the station as part of its transformation into a viable venue for a new kind of business. In July the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. Reconstituted Properties purchased the Marion Pike site along with the former Rich Oil station on Third and Lorain streets.

Both sites were owned by Stephanie Jo Barnett; for the Coal Grove station, appraised at $135,980 with taxes of $1,526.98 a year, the LEDC paid $75,000 and $50,000 for the Ironton station appraised at $51,440 with taxes of $926.88.

“We are going to start pulling the gas tanks and doing all the testing to see what kind of remediation is needed,” Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the LEDC, said.

Handling the remediation and demolition is PetroEnvironmental of Cincinnati.

“The day we get a full clean bill of health, they will be put up for sale for some type of commercial job-creating venture,” Dingus said. “We believe the one behind Wendy’s is one of the finest pieces of real estate in the county.”

When that happens, however, depends on what the remediation crew finds at the lot.

“You don’t know what you will run into when you pull the gas tanks,” Dingus said. “It could be a non issue or six digits.”

LEDC is also eyeing three more such service stations in the county for remediation.

“You have these old closed gas stations that are usually in a pretty decent commercial site,” Dingus said. “Individuals can’t take the risk. We are putting ourselves out to be able to take the risk. If everything goes smoothly, we will make money. If not, we won’t.”