Companies looking to relocate on deserted industrial sites can now search the state’s new online database of brownfield properties.
“Businesses can use the brownfield inventory database to easily look up available properties, learn what infrastructure services are already developed on those sites and what environmental investigation and cleanup has already been done,” the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release issued Thursday.
“Communities will find the website a useful tool for planning or promoting new development for local brownfield sites.”
Not all the listings may actually be available, however. For example, a search of Franklin County brownfields offers the 122-acre former Delphi Automotive Plant site, where Penn National Gaming is planning to start building its casino this spring.
Penn National spokesman Bob Tenenbaum was surprised to find out the property was listed on the state’s brownfield database.
“Whether it’s on this list or not we’re going to start building a casino there very shortly,” he said.
OEPA spokeswoman Linda Fee Oros said any site that applied for Clean Ohio program funding gets entered into the database.
Brownfield sites that are still undeveloped will likely be listed even if there are immediate construction plans, she said, adding owners could file an affidavit for properties to be removed from the inventory.
“With brownfields, they’re a little tricky and it’s a good idea to keep them on the radar screen until the project is complete,” she said, noting the sites frequently change hands.
Penn National applied for $2.5 million from the state’s Clean Ohio program for final cleanup after spending about $20 million to remedy the Adelphi site, Mr. Tenenbaum said. However, the recently passed transportation budget (HB 114 ) blocked gambling companies from getting any kind of economic development incentives.
“My guess is that when they see construction begin on that site, they will understand that there’s going to be a casino there by the end of next year,” he said.