State Control Board Approves Quarter-Million Grant for Glouster Gas Station Removal | New

The Ohio State Board of Control on Monday approved a $ 250,000 grant to the Athens County Land Bank to facilitate the removal of old gas station equipment from a property in Glouster.

The Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant, a program that is part of the Ohio Development Services Agency, provides up to $ 500,000 in funding to assess, clean up and remediate soils around underground storage tanks with oil spills documented, according to the Control Board documents.

Ric Wasserman, a member of the Athens County Land Bank, said grants like this allow the Land Bank, and therefore the county, to repair abandoned and environmentally destructive gas station devices.

The environmental hazards of underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs) and associated piping are well documented. According to the EPA, there are as many as 225,000 “brownfields” or oil contaminated areas, and many are the sites of old gas stations.

“These are nightmares,” Wasserman said.

In addition to the environmental damage caused by these rusty USTs and pipes, they are also a headache for communities.

According to a sheet from the Ohio Department of Commerce, many financial institutions will not grant loan approval for commercial real estate transactions until all environmental concerns regarding USTs on properties have been resolved.

Wasserman said that warning is true, the issues must be resolved before anything economically productive can be put on the property.

“Any building that has these environmental issues for sale or redevelopment – the environmental issues are addressed,” Wasserman said.

Due to the onerous nature of property appraisal and reclamation, the Land Bank’s work to secure these grants has been critical as it covers the full costs of these projects, Wasserman said.

Chris Chmiel, Athens County Commissioner and member of the Land Bank, said the Land Bank budget is around $ 400,000, so these grants save the organization devastating costs.

“It would be really, really expensive if it weren’t for the subsidies,” Chmiel said.

“It’s another way to have a land bank in the county that benefits everyone, because it’s the land bank that is able to carry out these projects,” Wasserman said.

He added that Land Bank was recently able to secure an old UST and a pipeline from an abandoned site in Chauncey. He said that with the money from the abandoned gas station clean-up grant, they were able to demolish the building on the site, clean up dangerous equipment and properly sanitize the floor.

Wasserman said the current grant recipient at 10 High Street in Glouster is actually located on private property, and the removal of bad pipes and soil remediation can be done without hindrance.

Todd Walker, director of communications for the Ohio Development Services Agency, said there are thousands of sites in Ohio in similar situations to Chauncey and Glouster.

Many sites are in central areas and are economically inactive, he said.

“We know that many of these sites are located on main arteries in downtown communities, and these projects are critical in helping communities clean up these sites for better use and future economic communities,” Walker said. .

He added that when several of these gas station sites were abandoned, owners left the consequences to municipalities.

“There is a need to clean up these sites – someone owned the gas station and it was easier to get away from it,” Walker said. “But because these underground storage tanks have to be removed, everyone kind of walked away – and they weren’t cleaned out.”

The Control Council is a mechanism for managing the necessary adjustments to the state budget. They approved the grant for Glouster as part of a blanket approval of many other agency applications.

“Things are getting better and better,” Chmiel said.

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