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The U.S. EPA's national Toxics Release Inventory reported that disposal or other releases of toxic chemicals decreased by 12% from 2011 to 2012. In Ohio, releases fell by 21%, from 149 million pounds in 2011 to 117 million pounds in 2012. ArcelorMittal and Charter Steel remained the largest emitters in Cuyahoga County.

The renovation of Victory Center (formerly the Victory Building and the Arts Building) in Midtown is scheduled to be finished this month. The 150,000 square-foot building at 7012 Euclid Avenue is being marketed to biomedical and technology companies. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation was completed at the adjacent 2.16-acre 7000 Euclid Avenue site.

An Ohio appeals court overturned a lower court decision and ruled that the City of Munroe Falls cannot enforce some of its ordinances covering oil and gas well drilling, saying that they are preempted by state law. The City plans to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Changes to the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund require projects to have an end user in order to receive funding. Local officials worry that it could make brownfield remediation more difficult.

via DevelopOhio

In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state's Oil and Gas Commission cannot hear appeals of drilling permits issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The news pleased the drilling industry and disappointed environmentalists.

Data from the U.S. EPA's 2011 Toxics Release Inventory shows that 4.09 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment, an 8% increase over 2010 levels. Toxic releases into the waters of the Great Lakes Basin grew by 12%. In Ohio, releases declined from 154 million pounds to 150 million pounds, a 2.6% decrease. Cuyahoga County's largest emitters were the Charter Steel and ArcelorMittal facilities.

Update: The Columbus Dispatch reported on the figures.

The Clean Ohio Council is considering changes to its brownfield funding policies. They are designed to create (PDF) a "streamlined process for funding brownfield projects." Joe Koncelik summarized the proposed changes (PDF) and called them "a seismic shift in how funding decisions will be made." Public comments will be accepted until October 17.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business has more information.

Broadview Heights residents will vote on a charter amendment that would prohibit new natural gas and oil wells in the City. City Council unanimously voted to put the issue on the ballot against the advice of the City's law director, who said it would be be unenforceable if adopted due to a 2004 state law that eliminated local controls. A group called Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods is urging residents to approve the issue, which will appear on the November ballot as Issue 29. Other Ohio communities are also seeking ways to reclaim local control over drilling. Stakeholders discussed the issues on a recent Sound of Ideas show.

The National Park Service announced that environmental remediation of the former Krejci Dump site in Boston Heights has been completed and that its final restoration should be mostly finished before the end of the year. Since work began in 2005, workers have removed about 371,000 tons of contaminated soils from the 46-acre site. The area will be opened to the public next year.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation has been completed at the 21-acre Midland Steel property on Madison Avenue and at a 6-acre property at the second phase of the Midtown Tech Park on Euclid Avenue. The agency is also considering a request for an Urban Setting Designation at the former Penguin Cleaners site on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst. The property was redeveloped as a Key Bank branch in 2010.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation has been completed (PDF) at Shoreway Commerce Park, the redevelopment of the former White Motors plant on East 79th Street in Cleveland.

Natural gas drilling continues to be a source of conflict and tension in places like Broadview Heights. Nearly 400 wells have been drilled in Cuyahoga County since Ohio eliminated local controls in 2004.

As part of its mid-biennium review, the Ohio Senate added $42 million for the Clean Ohio program. The spending bill includes $36 million for greenspace preservation and $6 million for farmland preservation. Earlier legislation had budgeted only $6 million for trail maintenance.

In the final round of funding from the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund, the Ohio Department of Development awarded more than $19 million in grants to 11 projects. The City of Cleveland received $1.3 million for demolition and remediation (PDF) at the former Van Dorn property on East 79th Street. The Orlando Baking Company plans to expand onto the property. Food service supplier S.S. Kemp in Cuyahoga Heights was not awarded a grant.

Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that Horsburgh & Scott completed brownfield remediation of its 1.4-acre property (PDF) on Hamilton Avenue in Cleveland.

Update: Governor Kasich signed Ohio House Bill 487, the mid-biennium review.

A USA Today investigative report examined lead levels in areas near hundreds of former lead factories and smelters across the United States, including several in Cleveland. The newspaper conducted soil testing and documented inaction by federal and state regulators. The sites identified in Cleveland were Tyroler Metals on Sweeney Avenue, Metals Refining Co. on Madison, Atlas Metal on East 75th Street, H&L Metal on East 79th Street, Lockport Lead on Bessemer Avenue, and Mowery Metal on Kinsman Avenue.

New maps from the Ohio Geological Survey illustrate the portions of the state where Utica shale deposits are expected to yield the most oil and gas. Previous maps included Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties in this area, but they are mostly excluded in the revised maps.

More energy companies are acquiring rights to drill in Ohio's Utica shale, and have leased or purchased rights to 3.8 million acres in the state. Projections anticipate that 160 wells will be drilled in 2012, 650 wells in 2013, and 1,075 wells in 2014.

Property owners in Summit County near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park have been receiving offers for the oil and gas rights from the Utica shale beneath their land.

Under JobsOhio, the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund may shift from providing grants to offering loans. Economic development professionals fear it would make the program less effective.

The Clean Ohio Assistance Fund awarded a $298,480 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a Phase II environmental assessment of a portion of the former General Environmental Management property on Rockefeller Avenue in the Flats. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation was completed (PDF) for the 14-acre former National Acme site on East 131st Street in Cleveland.

The Ohio EPA declared that the Electrolizing Corporation of Ohio completed brownfield remediation of its 2.25-acre property (PDF) on East 152nd Street in East Cleveland.

Two Summit County brothers turned their 105-acre family farm into wetlands, and recently donated the Panzer Wetland Wildlife Reserve in Copley Township to the University of Akron. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial praised their work.

As Ohio shale drilling continues to generate headlines, participants on Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed fracking in Ohio. Recent events could lead to policy changes.

Because its funding was transferred to the governor's JobsOhio program, the Clean Ohio program is no longer accepting applications. State leaders have not identified a replacement source of funding for the popular program. An editorial in Youngstown's Vindicator says that officials shouldn't allow the program to end.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that neglecting the Clean Ohio program "would amount to another blow to cities."

The U.S. EPA issued its annual analysis of data from the national Toxics Release Inventory. After several years of decreases, U.S. toxic chemical releases increased by 16% from 2009 to 2010. Releases in Ohio shrank by 1.8%. Cuyahoga County's largest emitters were the ArcelorMittal and Charter Steel facilities.

The Ohio EPA's proposed new rules for existing construction and demolition debris landfills would institute scheduled leachate monitoring. If contamination levels exceed standards, the rules would require groundwater testing and possible cleanup action. The EPA will hold a public hearing (PDF) on January 3 in Columbus.

State officials awarded more than $27.5 million in Clean Ohio Fund grants for 15 brownfield cleanup initiatives, including two local projects. Cuyahoga County received $2 million for demolition and remediation of Cleveland State University's Viking Hall and Wolfe's Music Store building. The university now plans to build a health and life sciences building on the site. The City of Cleveland received $2.99 million for infrastructure, demolition, and remediation in the Miceli Dairy expansion. The project broke ground in October.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson wants to save the Wolfe's Music Store building.

The Ohio EPA is considering a request for an Urban Setting Designation (PDF) that would cover all of East Cleveland. If established, it would reduce (PDF) groundwater cleanup requirements under the brownfield remediation process.

State officials awarded four Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grants, including a $299,377 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a Phase II assessment of the Kolthoff Road Landfill property, and a $656,272 grant to Cuyahoga County for demolition and remediation in the Emerald Alliance VII (PDF) project on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $13.3 million in grants to six cities through its Brownfields Economic Development Initiative. The City of Cleveland received a $3 million grant and a $10 million loan for cleanup and redevelopment of the Warner & Swasey site on Carnegie Avenue.

The Ohio Department of Development's new Brownfield Action Plan Pilot Program "will provide technical assistance to brownfield-impacted communities to create a plan for redevelopment." Communities interested in participating must submit a letter of interest by October 14.

Update: Diane Alecusan of the Department of Development described the program.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial urges state leaders to find replacement revenue sources for the Clean Ohio program.

The Ohio EPA declared that Great Lakes Towing has completed brownfield remediation (PDF) of its 2.18-acre property along the old river channel in Cleveland.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $27 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grants for 17 brownfield cleanup projects. Cleveland received two awards, $3 million for asbestos remediation of the John Hartness Brown Building on Euclid Avenue and $1 million for remediation and demolition for a mixed-use project on East 66th Street.

Update: WKSU has more details.

Cuyahoga County received a $500,000 grant for community-wide brownfield remediation from the U.S. EPA. It was part of the $76 million the agency awarded for cleanup projects (PDF) in 40 states.

The Ohio EPA awarded 10 grants through its Section 319 program to help communities address nonpoint source pollution. The $2.8 million in grants included a $184,429 grant (PDF) to Mayfield Village for the Chagrin River watershed, a $478,075 grant (PDF) to the City of Aurora for the Upper Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River, a $169,000 grant (PDF) to the Medina County Park District for the Chippewa Lake watershed, and a $57,078 grant (PDF) to Bath Township for the Yellow Creek watershed.

The agency also declared that brownfield remediation has been completed (PDF) at the Steel Slitting site on Aetna Road in Slavic Village, and issued a covenant not to sue.

Update: the Sun Messenger has more details about the grant received by Mayfield Village.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $290,345 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct an environmental assessment at Water Tower Park on Coit Road. The 24.6-acre former Fisher Body property is one of the largest contiguous brownfield sites (PDF) in Cleveland.

A Summit County Court of Common Pleas judge issued an injunction against a company seeking to drill a natural gas well in Munroe Falls. The driller has not applied for municipal approval of roads and other construction associated with the well, and asserts that the only permits required are those from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "ruling reflects is an effort to find a middle ground before it is too late." Other Northeast Ohio communities are searching for ways to regulate drilling.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday for the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland. The project's $15.1 million first phase will rehabilitate the central wing as 72 units of senior housing that will be called St. Luke's Manor. The Ohio EPA recently declared that brownfield remediation is complete (PDF) for the 5.19-acre site.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation of the Flats east bank site in Cleveland is complete and that the 20-are property is ready for redevelopment (PDF).

Funding for the Clean Ohio program will expire in 2012 if the program is not renewed. Joe Koncelik considered the future of the Clean Ohio brownfields fund.

The Ohio EPA introduced its new brownfield inventory database. The web-based system is intended to aid in the identification and redevelopment (PDF) of brownfield sites and includes information about cleanup status, infrastructure improvements, historical land uses, and other subjects. Meanwhile, the state's Office of Strategic Research published its 2011 Ohio County Profiles. The document features demographic information gathered from more than 50 sources.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $206,675 Clean Ohio grant to the City of Cleveland for a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment of the former Warner & Swasey property on Carnegie Avenue.

Controversies over natural gas drilling in Ohio could become more prominent this year, as energy companies show more interest in eastern Ohio's shale deposits and state leaders propose drilling in state parks. Ohio environmental groups have called for a moratorium on fracking until the extraction method's risks can be studied more thoroughly.

Update: Thursday's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to the subject.

The 83-acre Bluestone Business Park in Euclid is ready for new businesses. Demolition and brownfield remediation of the former PMX Industries/Chase Brass site was completed last year. Mayor Cervenik said that it eventually could include about 1 million square feet of industrial and office space with 1,000 jobs.

Brownfields news:

The Ohio Water Development Authority and the Ohio Department of Development are launching two loan programs, the Brownfield Loan Program and the Alternative Stormwater Infrastructure Loan Program.

Update: Joe Koncelik described the brownfield loan program.

Decades of road salt usage has changed the habitat of Northeast Ohio roadsides, creating areas where invasive halophytes can thrive. Stream and groundwater contamination is also a concern.

The Ohio EPA published draft rules for construction and demolition debris landfills. The revised rules are intended to reduce the landfills' environmental impacts (PDF) by preventing leachate problems. Landfill operators oppose the changes. The rules are open to public comment through April 1.

Northeast Ohio communities may soon see a dramatic rise in the number of new natural gas wells. Portage County saw 101 natural gas leases filed in the first half of 2010, and 1,125 have been filed thus far in the second half of the year. Stark County saw 160 in the first half and 836 to date in the second.

The U.S. EPA released its annual analysis of data from the Toxics Release Inventory. Nationwide, releases of toxic chemicals fell by 12% to 3.37 billion pounds from 2008 to 2009. Releases in Ohio fell from 224 million pounds in 2008 to 159 million pounds in 2009, a decrease of over 29%. Cuyahoga County's top polluter in 2009 was the Charter Steel mill in Cuyahoga Heights. The ArcelorMittal steel plant in Cleveland was idled for much of the year.

Update: businesses in Ohio continued to emit more toxic air pollutants than those of any other state. Officials attribute the decreases to pollution control equipment, the recession, and new processes.

Smart Growth America looked at Ohio's brownfield redevelopment initiatives and their potential to spur economic development. The Ohio EPA declared (PDF) that the City of Cleveland has finished cleanup of a 0.75-acre brownfield site at Euclid Avenue and East 55th Street.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield cleanup has been completed at a site on Euclid Avenue (PDF) in Cleveland and at Cedar Center in South Euclid. The agency is also considering an expansion of the Urban Setting Designation in Cleveland (PDF) to cover the entire city. The designation (PDF) would would reduce groundwater cleanup requirements in the brownfield remediation process.

Under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and 14 states, the old General Motors will commit $773 million for the environmental cleanup of 89 former manufacturing sites. Five plant properties in Ohio will share $39 million: $25.8 million will go to the facility in Moraine, $7.3 million to Elyria, $3 million to Mansfield, $2.6 million to Toledo, and $746,000 to Parma.

The U.S. EPA awarded $4 million in grants for communities to develop area-wide approaches to brownfield redevelopment. The City of Cleveland was among the 23 recipients, and will use its $175,000 award to facilitate community involvement (PDF) in prioritizing brownfield remediation along the route of the planned Opportunity Corridor in Kinsman and Buckeye.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $299,924 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a brownfields assessment for the planned expansion of the Miceli Dairy Products Co. facility (PDF) on Buckeye Road. The U.S. EPA gave a $25,000 grant to the Earth Day Coalition to support its work on revitalizing vacant properties.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed its environmental investigation of the site of the former Nike missile base on the Tri-C West campus in Parma Heights. The proposed plan recommends (PDF) no further action at the location. A public meeting was held on Tuesday, and the public comment period is open until September 4.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $600,000 in federal stimulus funds for brownfield redevelopment. The Famicos Foundation received $100,000 of the funds to help with asbestos remediation at a building on East Boulevard in Cleveland.

As urban agriculture grows in popularity, leaders in Cleveland and other Midwestern cities are considering its role in urban revitalization. An Ohio State University researcher is studying insect populations at community gardens to help inform future land use decisions. Lead contamination can also be an issue in urban soils, but several low-cost techniques can reduce its danger.

The Premcor Refining Group of San Antonio reached a settlement with the State of Ohio. The company agreed to clean up leaking underground storage tanks at 55 former Clark gas station sites in 26 counties and to pay $4 million in penalties. Nine of the locations (PDF) are in Cuyahoga County.

Today's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to a discussion of natural gas drilling and the risks it entails.

The City of Brooklyn has yet to make an official response to the Ohio EPA since the state shut down operations at the City's landfill in January. City leaders intend to meet with EPA officials within six weeks and hope to keep the landfill open.

Hemingway Development wants to redevelop the former Warner & Swasey complex at Carnegie Avenue and East 55th Street in Cleveland as offices, labs, and warehousing or manufacturing space. The buildings have been vacant since 1985 and are currently owned by the City of Cleveland. City officials hope to obtain state funding for brownfield remediation at the site.

Towpath Trail planners continue to examine the options for the stage in Cleveland between Harvard Road and Steelyard Commons. Cleanup of the Harshaw site threatens to delay construction or force the use of a less desirable route.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded that the Harshaw Chemical site in Cleveland presents "no unacceptable risk to current or reasonably anticipated future land uses" and that "no further action is necessary". The findings will allow the Towpath Trail extension to pass through the site. The Harshaw Investigative Area 06 Proposed Plan (PDF) is open to public comment through May 26.

The U.S. EPA today announced $78.9 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states. The Cuyahoga County Land Bank received a $400,000 grant to conduct brownfield assessments.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

The Ohio EPA announced that two local brownfield sites have completed the state's Voluntary Action Program and are ready for redevelopment. The properties are a 2.78-acre site on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland (PDF) and a 16-acre site on Northfield Road in Warrensville Heights (PDF).

Architect and real estate investor Richard Bowen wants to redevelop the former Key Gas Components facility as a $35 million mixed-use project. The development near Chester Avenue and East 66th Street in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood would include a 70,000-square-foot medical office building, 150 senior housing units, 14,000 square feet of retail space, and two restaurants. The City of Cleveland is applying for a $191,947 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant that would help fund a Phase II environmental site assessment (PDF) and an asbestos survey.

The City of Brooklyn's landfill may have exceeded its capacity and could be permanently shut down by the Ohio EPA. It is the last active municipal solid waste landfill in Cuyahoga County.

A report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that the former Harshaw Chemical site in Cleveland remains contaminated by radiation, but not at levels that would prevent passive recreation. The site had been considered for a potential leg of the Towpath Trail extension. Cleanup could take as many as five years.

Greater Cleveland residents have the opportunity to share their opinions at several meetings:

Update: Scene and the Plain Dealer have more information about FirstEnergy's request. Channel 3 reported on the Harshaw site findings. The News Sun shared details about the aerotropolis meetings.

The U.S. EPA released its annual analysis of Toxics Release Inventory data. In 2008, pollution releases at the national level fell by 6% from 2007 levels. Ohio reduced its releases of toxic air pollutants by 22%, but remained the nation's top emitter of toxic airborne compounds. Toxic releases in Cuyahoga County fell from 12.2 million tons in 2007 to 9.9 million tons in 2008. The ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland was the County's top polluter.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant to the City of Lyndhurst for brownfield remediation at the northeast corner of Mayfield and Brainard roads. The site will be redeveloped as a Key Bank branch. Cuyahoga County also received a $2.5 million grant for remediation at the Ben Venue Laboratories expansion in Bedford. The State awarded a total of 16 grants.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that African Americans are more likely to live in proximity to a polluting industrial facility than white Americans. The disparity was especially acute in Midwestern cities.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association and the National Park Service are launching the new Trails Forever initiative, an effort to repair and expand the park's trail network. One of their goals is to raise a $10 million endowment by 2016, the interest from which would be used to enhance the trails. Meanwhile, the environmental cleanup of the former Krejci Dump in the park was extended through the end of November 2011. Contamination at the site is more extensive than anticipated.

The Ohio EPA's new Environmental Insurance Program (PDF) will provide discounted environmental insurance for the risks encountered in brownfield remediation.

The Ohio EPA is offering financial assistance for the design and construction of methane extraction systems at City View Center in Garfield Heights.

The City of Middleburg Heights will convert a vacant gas station at the corner of Smith and Pearl roads to a new public park. A completion date has not been identified.

The Ohio EPA filed contempt of court charges (PDF) against developer John McGill for failing to make environmental improvements at City View Center in Garfield Heights. McGill Property Group officials say that the company lacks the money to install the systems at the shopping center. John McGill recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida.

Last week, the U.S. EPA announced $111.9 million in grants, of which $5.6 million will be for projects in Ohio. Cuyahoga County received a $1 million grant to conduct brownfields assessments at about 35 sites. The grants were "bolstered by funds" from the federal stimulus bill.

The Ohio EPA approved a methane extraction plan for the City View Center site in Garfield Heights. The property's court-appointed receiver is optimistic about the shopping center's future.

The U.S. EPA's annual publication of Toxics Release Inventory statistics reveal that Ohio businesses emitted 3.89% fewer toxins in 2007 than in 2006. Factories and power plants in Ohio continued to emit more air pollution than any other state. Nationwide, toxic releases declined by 5% in 2007. A provision in the recent appropriations bill reinstated stronger reporting requirements, reversing a 2006 Bush administration rule.

The Ohio EPA will monitor construction at the closed Matousek landfill in Garfield Heights. Developers have proposed building a second phase of the City View Center retail development, as well as a quarter-mile extension of Transportation Boulevard to Rockside Road.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture anticipates that Brecksville will see a rise in the gypsy moth population this year. The agency will spray 99 acres (PDF) through its program to suppress the invasive species.

Cuyahoga County awarded a $1 million brownfield redevelopment loan to Mitchell Schneider's 79th Street Properties for cleanup of the Shoreway Industrial Park, the former White Motors plant on East 79th Street in Cleveland.

Valley View officials say that their concerns about City View Center have been addressed by the recent settlement between shopping center owners and the Ohio EPA.

With the Ohio EPA lawsuit resolved, McGill Property Group hopes to proceed with a second phase of construction at City View shopping center in Garfield Heights. Developers of the nearby Bridgeview Crossing shopping center may ask City Council to approve modified plans for its development.

The lack of oversight at the closed 40-acre Schaaf Road Landfill in Brooklyn Heights and Independence continues to trouble local officials.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District dropped its plans to build a recycling center at the General Chemical site in Garfield Heights and Cuyahoga Heights, because environmental remediation costs grew beyond initial expectations.

The City of Cleveland sued Standex International, the former owner of the Trinity property on Detroit Road, and is seeking more than $1.5 million in compensation for the environmental cleanup of the site. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA reached a settlement with the owners of City View Center in Garfield Heights. The developers agreed to make major infrastructure improvements (PDF) and pay a $1.2 million fine.

The Ohio EPA is close to reaching a settlement with developers and the City of Garfield Heights in the City View Center lawsuit. A trial was scheduled to begin on December 8, but was pushed back to December 15.

The West Side Sun News describes the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center, the largest redevelopment project undertaken by the City of Cleveland's Industrial-Commercial Land Bank program. The site in the industrial valley was recently awarded a $5 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant.

The Plain Dealer summarized the impacts of the Clean Ohio program in Greater Cleveland. The bond program is up for renewal as Issue 2, and Lakewood City Council passed a resolution in support of program.

Update: Issue 2 has bipartisan support from top office-holders in Columbus.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges voters to approve Issue 2, the renewal of the Clean Ohio program, calling it a "a sound investment that benefits both urban and rural Ohioans."

Remediation of two brownfield sites in Euclid has been completed, and the Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue. Cleanup was finished at the 66.2 acre Euclid Business Park and at an 8.5 acre property owned by Lincoln Electric Co.

An Akron Beacon Journal backs the renewal of the Clean Ohio program, saying that it "has been a catalyst for change in the state's economy."

Citing safety concerns, Wal-Mart indefinitely closed its store at City View Center this morning. A company spokesperson said that the list of problems includes "structural shifts, foundation issues, electrical issues, methane gas level issues, sewage backup," and that Wal-Mart does not intend to reopen the store.

Update: the Plain Dealer and WTAM have more details.

Mayor Longo of Garfield Heights is confident that the Ohio EPA's lawsuit against City View Center will be resolved soon.

The Ohio EPA remains unsatisfied with the efforts to monitor and vent methane gas at City View Center, and has threatened to shut down the shopping center in Garfield Heights if the issues are not resolved.

The planned redevelopment of the South Euclid side of Cedar Center will require public investment, thought the precise cost has yet to be established. The Cuyahoga County Department of Development is assisting the City with the environmental cleanup of the property.

The Plain Dealer examined Cuyahoga County's purchase of the site for the new juvenile justice center in Fairfax and the events that led up to it. County Commissioners purchased the site in 2000 from a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises for $2.75 million.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District may build a recycling center on the 55 acre former General Chemical site in Garfield Heights and Cuyahoga Heights. A portion of the brownfield site would become a park which would include the planned Mill Creek trail.

In an editorial, the Morning Journal supports the renewal of the Clean Ohio program, saying that "it's one issue that should not get lost in the crowd" this November.

At the request of the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Attorney General's Office filed a 25-count complaint against the owners and operators of City View Center in Garfield Heights. The lawsuit alleges (PDF) that departures from approved plans resulted in insufficient controls for erosion, leachate management, and methane collection.

Update: the Garfield-Maple Sun supplies more details.

The 1,100 acre Lakeview Bluffs development in Fairport Harbor, Painesville, and Painesville Township could take 25 years and $1 billion to complete. Construction is expected to begin in 2010. CSU professor Robert Simons says it "could very well be the largest construction project Lake County sees in the next 100 years."

The economic stimulus package signed yesterday by Governor Strickland includes a renewal of the Clean Ohio program. If Ohio voters approve the $400 million bond issue in November, funding for the program will be doubled. Half of the funds would be used for brownfield remediation, and the other half would support greenspace conservation, trail construction, and farmland preservation.

31 of Ohio's top 100 polluters are among the companies participating in the Ohio EPA's voluntary Tox-Minus program. In Northeast Ohio, 15 plants are participating (PDF), although Lincoln Electric is the sole Cuyahoga County participant. The program is an effort to reduce pollution identified in the national Toxics Release Inventory.

The Ohio EPA has cited the owners of City View Center for at least 20 environmental violations, including a buildup of methane gas and seepage of polluted water into storm and sanitary sewers. The shopping center in Garfield Heights was the first major commercial development in the state to be built atop a closed landfill.

The U.S. EPA awarded $74 million in brownfields grants to projects in 43 states. The City of Cleveland received $200,000 for the cleanup of the nine acre Chemical and Minerals Reclamation site on Crescent Avenue. Cuyahoga County received $400,000 to perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments at sites across the county and $1 million for its revolving loan fund.

Update: the Cuyahoga County Department of Development has more information.

The Ohio EPA has selected a preferred plan for cleaning up contaminated soils in the central-west portion of NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park. A public meeting will be held on April 14.

Environmental cleanup of the Cleveland Pneumatic brownfield site in Slavic Village has been completed, and the Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue. The property will be redeveloped for light industrial use and as athletic fields for South High School.

The U.S. EPA's annual publication of Toxics Release Inventory data showed that pollution in Ohio increased by 5% in 2006. Releases of toxic substances rose from 277.1 million pounds in 2005 to 291.3 million pounds in 2006. Ohio again led all states in toxic air pollution.

(via Economic News From Ohio's Regions)

Fogg Corporate Properties is in the process of purchasing the 83 acre PMX site in Euclid from Commercial Development Co. of St. Louis, and plans to redevelop the property as an industrial park. The company obtained a $1 million brownfields cleanup grant from Cuyahoga County last week, and is seeking a $5 million grant from the Ohio Job Ready Sites program.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone testified before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment about brownfields redevelopment funding. H.R. 5336, a reauthorization of the the U.S. EPA's brownfields program, was introduced on Tuesday.

A bill introduced in the Ohio Sentate yesterday is aimed at expediting the foreclosure process for abandoned houses. Another bill introduced yesterday would allow cities to establish local programs similar to the statewide Clean Ohio Fund. Mayor Coleman of Columbus hopes to use the latter bill to create the Clean Columbus Fund (PDF).

While Bedford officials consider the cleanup of the former Brush Wellman site a success, the City has two other brownfield sites in need of remediation.

After two years of work, excavation of the Krejci Dump in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is nearing completion. The environmental cleanup should be completed by fall 2008 if additional contamination is not discovered.

Because the Ferchill Group scrapped its plans to build Riverside Landing, a proposed $22 million residential development on the Scranton Peninsula, Cuyahoga County rescinded a $1 million brownfields cleanup loan for the project.

The Ohio office of HUD's Community Planning and Development Division gave its 2007 CPD award of excellence to Tinkers Creek Commerce Park in Bedford, the industrial park built on the former Brush Wellman site.

This week's Scene raises concerns about toxic waste at the former Diamond Shamrock site in Fairport Harbor, a Superfund site being remediated and redeveloped as part of the Lakeview Bluffs resort community.

Brownfields remediation was completed at the 24.6 acre site of the planned new CMHA headquarters in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle, and the Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue. Meanwhile, the Clean Ohio Council awarded $2,046,713 to the City of Cleveland for the cleanup of the 5.1 acre Morgana East site in Slavic Village.

The Plain Dealer recently explored the 17 year saga of the former Fisher Body complex at Coit Road and East 140th Street in Collinwood. The State of Ohio spent $47 million to purchase, clear, and clean the 49 acre site, and eventually sold it Forest City Enterprises for $630,000. Forest City sold roughly half the site to the U.S. Department of Labor for $2.5 million, and it is being redeveloped as the new Cleveland Job Corps campus, scheduled to open in August. The other half remains undeveloped. A Plain Dealer editorial says that public officials "must oversee development with much more vigilance and diligence."

PCB contamination was discovered at the former Trinity Building site on Detroit Avenue, a brownfield property that is now in the City of Cleveland's industrial land bank. The situation may force City officials to change their plans for redeveloping the site.

The City of Cleveland received two $200,000 brownfields assessment grants from the US EPA. The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments of eight sites in the City's industrial land bank.

A panel of scientists said that by the end of the century, the Great Lakes region will have a significantly different climate because of global warming. They predicted that Ohio's climate will be much like that of present-day Tennessee or eastern Texas.

CSU's The Cauldron examined local reactions to the Earth Day Network's 2007 Urban Environment Report, which ranked Cleveland 70th in its list of 72 cities. Cleveland Sustainability Progam Manager Andrew Watterson feels that the methodology was flawed, and that the City is working to address many of the issues raised in the report.

A series half-day Best Local Land Use Workshops will be held around Greater Cleveland this month. The first training session will be held in Kirtland on March 8. Later workshops will be in Valley View on March 14 and in Medina on March 29. Registration is free, but space is limited.

The Earth Day Network released an environmental report card that used over 200 indicators to compare US cities. Of the 72 rated cities, Cleveland was ranked 70th, and had the worst air quality score in the country.

(via Planetizen)

Toxic waste runoff from the closed Boyas landfill in Garfield Heights, now the site of the recently sold City View Center, may be the source of cancer among residents in a downstream Valley View neighborhood.

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