YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two weeks ago, a bill passed quietly in the Ohio Senate that could someday have a profound effect on some of the old manufacturing land around Youngstown.
Trees are now growing where people once worked at the old Republic Hose factory on Albert Street in Youngstown.
The RG Steel company once had its big mill behind the fence along Pine Avenue in Warren.
Both are among Ohio’s 10,000 Brownfield sites, which are former manufacturing properties that need cleaned up and reused.
“With Brownfields, what we noticed is there’s a lot of confusion. There’s not really a strong game plan that the state of Ohio has,” said Youngstown area Senator Michael Rulli.
To change the game plan, Rulli wants a survey of all of Ohio’s Brownfield sites.
“There’s no standard. There’s no procedure or list of requirements that would put you in that category,” Rulli said.
His bill calling for the survey has passed the Senate. It’s currently in the House and Rulli said the governor seems OK with it.
“There’s really not a whole lot of remediation funding,” said Julie Green of the Trumbull County Planning Commission, who deals with Brownfields.
Green said one she’d like cleaned up is the old Copperweld site in Champion and she’ll take whatever help she can get.
“You know, having more resources to clean up these sites and provide new opportunities for businesses to locate here,” said Green.
Once the survey is complete, Rulli wants to use excess liquor tax money to pay for the clean ups. Those can range from $28 million to $67 million a year.
Communities will then recommend three to five properties they’d like cleaned up.
“We figure we can probably do anywhere between 20 to 50 projects a year on money that’s already being allocated for the liquor tax,” Rulli said.
Rulli said he’s all for beautifying Ohio, but that’s not what these bills are for. He said they’re to clean up old industrial properties and make them usable for companies to build on again.