YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Struthers, Sebring and Youngstown will share in a $192 million statewide grant to clean up brownfield areas and renovate old buildings.
The Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corporation (MCLRC) is getting over $6.9 million to clean up the site of the old Strouss building in downtown Youngstown. The building was once the focal point of downtown with eight floors, shopping, dining and the site of parades and holiday celebrations.
After Strouss closed in 1986, the building was converted into ground-floor retail and officers and remained the Phar-Mor Centre. When Phar-Mor ceased operations in 2002, smaller offices utilized the space over the years.
Remediation for the building using the grant will address asbestos, removal of hazardous materials and interior demolition. DeWine said Youngstown is working to develop the property and “return it to the center of innovation, education, and lifestyle.” Redevelopment plans include small business stands, a food hall, and first-floor retail and technology incubation space.
In November 2021, Jim Ambrose of the Desmone Architects addressed Youngstown City Council with plans to make the building a “destination spot.” At the time, the city finance director was hoping to get an $8 million demolition grant from the state.
MCLRC is also getting over $1.4 million to clean up the former Royal China Facility in Sebring. The property was once home to the Royal Sebring China Company. The pottery facility closed in 1986 and was later used as a storage facility. In May 2021, three people were charged with storing hazardous material there and operating a dump site without a permit.
Chemicals from the pottery operations are present throughout the site. Cleanup will be centered on the former shop, glazing and kiln areas as well as any water on the property and contaminated soil will be removed. When the cleanup is done, the property can be redeveloped.
In addition, MCLRC is getting a total of $236,690 to clean up two sites in Youngstown. One is at 131 W. Woodland in Youngstown. The building has been vacant for years. Asbestos will be addressed, and the building will be demolished. After demolition, the property will be redeveloped as a 30-unit, two- and three-bedroom affordable housing townhouse complex.
A building at 2301 Market Street, which used to be the Fairmont Ice Cream Shop in the late ’40s and housed a few bars over the years, is targeted for asbestos removal and demolition. After cleanup, the land bank plans to utilize the site for Transit-Oriented Development.
The Western Reserve Port Authority is getting $496,000 for the removal of petroleum contaminants and groundwater remediation of the CASTLO area in Struthers. The area was once part of Youngstown Sheet and Tube.
After the cleanup, DeWine says the site will be redeveloped as a mixed-use area, supporting new retail, indoor sports training and small manufacturing operations.
The acreage along the Yellow Creek and Mahoning River will become a public park and gathering space for outdoor activities.
In total, 112 brownfield areas in 41 counties are getting money for cleanup projects.