CINCINNATI — Forty former industrial sites in Cincinnati will get new life, thanks to $1.3 million from U.S. EPA Brownfield Grant Programs.
The city’s office of sustainability received a $500,000 grant to start assessment work to determine future use, and the Port received $800,000 to start work improving those properties across the city.
The EPA designated the term “brownfield” to refer to former industrial sites so contaminated with pollution or hazardous substances that they need special remediation and cleanup before they can be converted into future economic development projects. The first EPA Brownfield designation and project was a pilot program in Cuyahoga County in 1993.
City leaders held a news conference Thursday morning at one site, the historic Crosley building, which has sat abandoned since 2006. Much of the rest of the work includes projects along the Beekman Corridor and the formerly industrialized areas of the west side.
Council member Meeka Owens, chair of the council’s Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said the investment was a massive step toward the city’s promise to improve the environment across all neighborhoods and ensure everyone has access to a better quality of life.
“The 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan calls for cleanup of legacy industrial sites in priority communities, which are those most in need of seeing these improvements and brownfield remediation,” she said.
Besides the $1.3 million from the EPA grants, another $16 million will come to the city through state cleanup grants. The legislature set aside $350 million in brownfield remediation for statewide projects in the budget.
“We had to fight hard to make sure that Brownfield investments were in this state budget,” said Rep. Dani Issachsohn, D-Cincinnati. “We fought to make sure they are, and the reality is the highest and best use of our dollars are going to be in the communities that have been historically under-funded like this one.”
Cincinnati also invested an additional $7 million from the previous year’s budget to help fund the remediation.
Work has already begun with the demolition of the Beekman Silos set for the end of July. The remediation will continue over the next four years.
Once sites are build-ready, the city hopes to attract advanced manufacturing facilities to these locations.