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County gets grant to assess former Edon school property

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Lucas Bechtol

May 2, 2022

The former Edon Northwest Local Schools building will get a brownfield assessment thanks to a state grant.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced $60 million in brownfield remediation and assessment grants last week, including a $25,848 grant for the Edon school building.

A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Edon property consists of eight vacant structures that were the site of the district’s school buildings until 2005. The site later housed a storage facility until the mid-2010s.

According to a press release, Brownfield Remediation Program funds will help the county conduct the Voluntary Action Program (VAP) Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and VAP Phase II ESA if necessary. After assessment and any needed remediation, the county plans to ready the site to be available for commercial and recreation development.

Brian Wieland, Bryan city engineer and president of the Williams County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) Board, said the grant would cover the cost of assessment.

“We’re in the process of acquiring that property and that was the assessment that needs done to see if there’s any contaminants or asbestos,” he said. “It’s just to assess it for the next phase. If there are other potential grants to apply for, we have a baseline for what the cost would be.”

The location is one of 78 projects in 35 counties receiving approximately $60 million to assess or remediate brownfield properties across the state.

“These hazardous, decaying sites — some of which have been vacant for decades — are barriers to economic growth and community revitalization, but now, we’re going to help breathe new life into these areas,” DeWine said in the press release issued last week. “The projects we’re funding today will not only revive these sites for new development, but they’ll also improve quality of life and open the door for exciting new opportunities for the citizens of our state.”

In January, the Land Bank selected the Edon school property as a brownfield project they wanted to focus on for grant opportunities, with Commissioner Lew Hilkert saying it would need substantial funds to take care of.

The Land Bank’s plan is to do asbestos remediation and then demolish the buildings. The full cost could be upward of $500,000, according to consulting and engineering firm Tetra Tech.

Williams County has $1 million in grants available for brownfield remediation through the Ohio Department of Development. Wieland said the applications for those grants are due soon.

“The Land Bank will be applying for final cleanup for the Edon school,” he added.

This cleanup will include demolition as well as any asbestos remediation. Wieland expects to hear whether they received the grant for the project in the fall.

The Land Bank also decided in January to pursue grants for asbestos remediation at the Williams County Courthouse and, if money is available, the former Central Transport building, located at 626 N. Union St., in Bryan.

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