The up front, out-of-pocket costs associated with a $1.34 million state brownfield grant awarded to Kent must now come out of city coffers.
The city has amended its agreement with Thomas & Betts Corp. of Memphis, TN, regarding the remediation efforts at the former RB&W site at 800 Mogadore Road.
Originally, as part of the state grant, the city and Thomas & Betts agreed to split the associated $150,000 local matching costs. Now, the city plans to pay the total costs up front, up to that $150,000 figure, with Thomas & Betts promising to reimburse the city for half their expenses at a later date.
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the amended agreement doesn't change how much the city will finally be on the hook for, which shouldn't exceed $75,000.
"It's just resequencing the dollars," Ruller told members of Kent City Council during their Aug. 1 meeting.
In December, the Clean Ohio Council released $1.34 million of Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund money to the city to pay to fix the cause of chemical leaching at the 18-acre property and remove any remaining contaminated soil. The former manufacturing site has been undergoing remediation efforts for nearly four years to remove soil polluted after decades of factory work on the site.
What comes next is a "failure investigation" to find the cause of the increased contaminants found in groundwater at the property. The shared $150,000 cost between Kent and Thomas & Betts will pay for the failure investigation, which the state said could not be covered by the grant.
The investigation will focus on an underground, clay slurry wall that surrounds about 2 acres at the southern end of the property where former open-air oil lagoons were used by former businesses there.
Officials involved in the project, including at the Ohio EPA and the property owner's environmental consultant, Mentor-based Hzw Environmental Consultants, have suspected the slurry wall for months to be the cause of the groundwater contaminant increase.
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said state officials wanted to see the results of the failure investigation before cutting the check on the $1.34 million in remediation money.
"As it turns out, to get through the process the state doesn’t want to see the company that’s holding the land for us lead the agreement," Smith said. "We’re actually changing the terms a little bit, that we’re actually expending the money and they’re reimbursing us."
Smith said he is hopeful to have the remediation study finished by mid September.