EPA grant to help begin brownfield cleanup - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

EPA grant to help begin brownfield cleanup

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WARREN, Ohio - A $600,000 grant will cover the first steps in redeveloping land once occupied by factories and industry.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put the money in the hands of the Western Reserve Port Authority to do this.

To start the project, the organization is working with the Trumbull County Planning Commission, the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative, Warren city officials and Howland Township to determine where the money will be spent.

The former Delphi complex in North Warren and land along the Mahoning River joins the list of locations that need to be tested for possible contaminants.

It's not known what was left behind by the businesses of past, but getting the grant is the first big hurdle in attracting new businesses.

"If we can get to a point where we can guarantee the company that the site has been cleaned and we already have the infrastructure in place with water, sewer and roads, now it becomes attractive," says Warren Community Development director Michael Keys.

Keys says the city of Warren is competing with Northern communities in Trumbull County for new businesses because more untouched green space is available.

"Of course that's more attractive to companies, because they know they won't have a lot of environmental issues to deal with," he says.

This green space near the corner of Mahoning Avenue and Summit Street Northwest in Warren was anything but green before the remnants of a former power plant were cleaned up.

The polluted properties are often called brownfields.

At least one company in Howland's hub for commercial activity is expressing interest in expanding if the land purchase becomes loan worthy in the eyes of lenders.

Howland Township Trustee Matthew Vansuch says it's near impossible to get loans to purchase land that could be contaminated.

"It's the threat and fear that holds up a lot of development of these properties," Vansuch says.

While it could take a couple of years to finish testing, Vansuch joins others eager to make the land available again.

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