CLEVELAND — One of Ohio’s largest counties has a significant amount of land that's not being used, but that could change. 

What You Need To Know

  • Cuyahoga County is pledging $5 million in brownfield remediation

  • With council’s approval, the county will use American Rescue Plan funding to cleanup properties

  • The Foundry Project is hoping to clean up unused land

On a cold, windy day in Cleveland, J Shorey walked along the old T&B Foundry, a metal casting plant that closed down about a decade ago and now sits vacant.  

“Some people look at that building and think it’s just an eyesore waiting to be torn down. And I look at it as a space where vibrant, artistic and other ideas can be housed and be supported and generate. That’s what I see,” said Shorey.  

With a background in biology and law, Shorey has big plans for what he calls the Foundry Project, which would involve redeveloping the site. He credits his mom for the motivation. 

“It’s just part of me is to look at waste and say, 'what can we do to extract value from that?'” 

He wants to turn the foundry into an urban farm that can also be used for education. According to Shorey, the site is on a brownfield, so some of the property could be contaminated with things like asbestos from the tower.

Cuyahoga County pledged $5 million to cover cleanup costs for local brownfields. Shorey said the money is needed to get projects like this done. 

“This is a business. We have to approach investors, and to tell an investor that they’ve got to spend three quarters of a million dollars out of the box just to get the building to where it’s safe to walk into it, that’s a pretty steep hill to climb,” said Shorey.  

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said council will need to approve the use of American Rescue Plan funding for the cleanup. It's something he said could open the door to more development in unused sites across the county. 

“We don’t have a lot of green space in Cuyahoga County, a lot of open farmland, for example, that could be developed. But we have former, previous industrial sites, for example, that need to be cleaned up. If they’re cleaned up, then they can be usable. We have property; we just need to clean it up,” said Budish.  

Shorey said he hopes cleaning up these sites will lead to less waste and more opportunity for the region. 

“You have to believe in the potential in Cleveland and the potential for the county to seize the opportunities that we have,” said Shorey. “We are blessed with good space, great resources.” ​