UPDATE: State Signs Off on $1.34 Million for RB&W Site
Clean Ohio Fund grant will pay for remediation of brownfield on Mogadore Road
State officials officially signed off this afternoon on a $1.34 million Clean Ohio Fund grant to finish cleaning the RB&W brownfield on Mogadore Road.
Word that the Clean Ohio Council released $1,342,210 to the city for the property came via press release from State Rep. Kathleen Clyde's office.
City officials first learned they had won the grant award last month. The grant, which guarantees the property owner will sell the land to the city for $1, will pay to fix the cause of chemical leaching at the property at 800 Mogadore Road and remove any remaining contaminated soil.
What comes next is a "failure investigation" to find the cause of the increased contaminants found in groundwater at the 18-acre site. Both the city and the property owner, Thomas & Betts Corp. of Memphis, TN, agreed to spend up to $75,000 each to 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.
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said the city is working with the property owner to pursue an "urban setting" designation for the property from the state.
"In laymens terms, it basically says nobody’s going to be drilling a well and using it for drinking water around the site," Smith said. "Since the city of Kent has water and sewer that shouldn’t be” too difficult to obtain.
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.
Smith said the failure investigation should start in January and be finished by April "with a clear picture how to finish the remediation, and that’s probably about the same time the state funding will kick in."
After the remediation is finished, the city plans to try and redevelop the property into a commercial development dubbed the Atlantic and Great Western Technology Park in partnership with Kent State University and the Kent Regional Business Alliance.
"The revitalization process of downtown Kent has made great strides this year,” Rep. Clyde said in a prepared statement. “The funds the former RB&W site was awarded will help remediate compacted soils on Mogadore Road, and Discovery Park will be one step closer to its mission of attracting new technologies to the area. This really is an exciting time for our community."