CHAMPION — The Trumbull County Land Bank is seeking nearly $1 million in Environmental Protection Agency grant funding to get the former Diversified Resources property cleaned up and prepared for development.
Township trustees and several residents attended an informational meeting Tuesday at Champion High School to hear land bank officials discuss plans for the 29-acre property in the 400 block of Refractory Road.
The industrial site is located north of the Warren Outerbelt and was once the former General Refractory, which was a fire brick manufacturing plant that closed in 1994.
Lisa Ramsey, deputy director with the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, said discussions with township trustees about cleaning up the property began in 2019.
“The property has gone through turmoil. Beginning in 2001, the Trumbull County Health Department issued property violations that needed to be addressed. That was followed by action by the Ohio EPA. For some time, there has been an effort to remove the material at the site. The site is in better shape than it was 10 years ago, but still not in good shape,” he said.
Ramsey said from the 1960s to the 1980s, the property was used for firebrick buildings and then was used for industrial recycling. He said the building on the property was not structurally sound.
The land bank is seeking nearly $1 million for a full cleanup of the site. He said the land bank will know in the spring if the grant has been approved.
Shawn Carvin, land bank director with TNP, said the land bank has been able to do other local battlefield restoration projects, including battlefield assessments and restoration work at former gas stations in Brookfield, Girard and Hubbard.
He said Champion’s property requires lead, petroleum and any contaminants removed from the soil and groundwater. There are barrels and piles of steel swarf created in the industrial process.
“It is important to clean up sites like this and prepare them for future projects. There are hundreds of barrels that need to be removed and the structure to be able to reach the ground. The soil needs to be tested to see what contaminants are there,” Carvin said.
He said the property is located near state Route 5 with easy access for logistics businesses.
Carvin said the land bank took over the property and has worked with the EPA and applied for $250,000 in funding for an on-site assessment for any hazardous materials and soil, air and groundwater testing.
“We want to clean up the property and try to return it to productive use,” he said.
Officials said if the grant is approved, additional public meetings will be held on the project.
Resident Jack Besse asked if work was done on the property, what would be done to local roads with trucks carrying heavy equipment. Carvin said the road will be repaired if there is any damage.
Ramsey said if the land bank doesn’t receive the funds, it will resubmit the application.
Carvin said the application will be filed this month and, if approved in 2023, the land bank will have four years to complete the project. He said it might not take four years, but the timeline depends on what’s in the ground and under the building.
Jody Kaufman, a project geologist with the Brownfield Remediation Group, said over the years different materials have been brought to the property.
“Contaminants were found there. EPA takes some of the most hazardous waste. The EPA is willing to give money to sites they have worked on and not completed. They have spent a lot of money here, but it is not done. They like to come back and be able to complete the cleanup so that the property can be developed and used again,” Kaufman said.
Champion Trustee Rex Fee said he supports the project, but noted a residential property is 2,500 feet from the site, and he is concerned about a nearby creek.
Kaufman said 11 to 15 monitoring wells will be put in to address groundwater issues if there is drilling in the ground.
Carver said he has spoken with Champion police Chief Larry Skaggs, who said police patrol the area to monitor for trespassers or vandalism.
Anyone with information or comments can visit www.trumbullcountylandbank.org or call 330-469-6828.