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Edgerton receives $5M brownfield grant

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Lucas Bechtol

Dec 21, 2022

This photo shows the front door of Edgerton Metal Products, Inc. The business closed in 2000 and the village has received nearly $5 million to remediate environmental concerns on the property.

Edgerton will be able to clean up a contaminated brownfield property next year with the help of nearly $5 million in grants through the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced $88 million for 123 brownfield remediation projects throughout the state. This involved the second and third round of applications for the program.

“Our goal is to create opportunities and make a positive difference in the lives of Ohioans,” DeWine said in a release. “Removing these eyesores and cleaning up blighted properties will help make way for new and exciting opportunities in our state.”

Two grants, one to Edgerton Development Corporation and another to the village of Edgerton, brought in roughly $4.96 million to clean up a property that used to be Edgerton Metals.

Dawn Fitzcharles, Edgerton village administrator, said the 4.39-acre property is located at 218 E. Bement St., along the St. Joseph River.

The site has been used since 1901 for various industrial purposes, including the manufacturing of clothes racks and ironing boards, a milling operation, a canning company and basketmaking.

It eventually became Edgerton Metals Products when the Moeller family from Spencerville purchased the property in 1959. Edgerton Metals closed operations in 2000.

“The property is currently owned by Edgerton Acquisitions, which is still the same family that brought in the Edgerton Metals facility in 1959,” Fitzcharles said. “A fun fact is Mayor (Bob) Day’s grandfather was very influential in getting Edgerton Metals here. And we’ve been working with a lady by the name of Candace Moeller. Her father and Mayor Day’s grandfather are the two individuals who worked to bring this project together. It really feels like for us it has come full circle.”

In addition, Edgerton Metals brought many families to Edgerton for work and many of those families still live in the community, she said.

This history has made the location a staple of the community, but it has since become a blight on the community.

“It’s been an eyesore and the folks who live in and around that area have not been happy,” Fitzcharles said.

In an email, Moeller thanked everyone for their help and persistence in doing something with the property.

“I am elated that something positive can come of our property,” she said, according to the email.

Getting the grant

Fitzcharles said getting the grant was a “big shot in the dark” that came from a public-private partnership between the village, Edgerton Development and Edgerton Acquisitions.

“I would just like to say we’re incredibly grateful to have this opportunity,” she said. “We’re excited about having the funding to do it and the legacy that it will leave within our community for generations to come.”

Day, who also serves as the president of Edgerton Development Corporation, said he started looking into the property a several years ago.

The property owners reached back out to them earlier this year.

“That’s how it started and we discovered there was access to state funds but they needed a private partner,” Day said. “That’s where (Edgerton Development) came in.”

The Project

Remediation of the property is currently estimated at roughly $6.5 million.

The grant requires a 25% local match and Fitzcharles said Edgerton Acquisitions has agreed to fund the remainder of the money.

She said the property has gone through stage one environmental site assessment and a stage two assessment is currently underway.

“It has findings and orders because of the contamination in certain portions of the parcel that needs to be mitigated,” Fitzcharles said. “They’ve been collecting data and trying to figure out what we’re dealing with. They found the things we’re dealing with are not all the same across the property.”

Working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, they have a created a corrective action plan, which was utilized to submit the grant application.

Extent of the work will include excavation and disposal of surface soils to address impacts of chlorinated solvents and inorganic constituents, abandonment of former drained lines, installation of vapor mitigation systems and more.

At the end of the project, a soil management plan will be created.

“It’s pretty common in a redevelopment site to get it to a point where we can return it to use and then continue to monitor it and make sure nothing changes in the future,” Fitzcharles said.

The project is expected to occur in 2023.

One good aspect of the project to the village is the fact they have little risk, Day said. So far, no village funds have been invested and the property would be gifted to the village once it’s finished.

“Any problems going forward, say 10 years from now in their annual testing they find a problem, the liability is forever with the current owners,” he said. “There’s no risk to the community.”

The results of the remediation process will determine what the village can use it for in the future, Fitzcharles said.

However, they have several ideas, including a public recreational area to include an amphitheater, a community center and a kayak launch.

Other plans are for mixed-use space, including potential for small senior living development and parking for the recreational area.

Day said the river is “one of the sleeping giants of our community.”

“I think that’s a natural resource we’re trying to tap into,” he said.

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