Last Friday, I attended the Clean Ohio Council meeting with my client Miceli Dairy Products, Inc. (Miceli Dairy). I had worked with Miceli Dairy over the last couple years on evaluating five parcels of property adjacent to their current facility on which the Dairy would like to expand its operations.
The Dairy submitted an application to receive approximately $3 million in grant funds to assist with demolition, clean up and installation of infrastructure on the brownfield parcels. The Dairy's application was competing with fourteen (14) other brownfield redevelopment projects from around the State.
The fourteen projects were in competition for the available funding. Each project is scored using various factors such as how much contamination is being cleaned up, number of jobs, etc. In the end, the Miceli application was the number one project in the State and the Council voted to fund the application. (Click here for press release from the Clean Ohio Council)
Miceli Dairy's expansion is a great story. Did you know that Miceli is the largest ricotta cheese manufacturer in the U.S.? The Company has a wonderful Cleveland history that is best described in the Plain Dealer story profiling the Dairy's expansion plans.
However, without the Clean Ohio program the expansion may never happened in the City of Cleveland.
Why the Project Wouldn't Have Worked without Clean Ohio
During the Clean Ohio Council meeting several comments were made the the Miceli project was one of the most complicated to every go through the program. Here were some of the issues that complicated use of the brownfield parcels for expansion:
- Two businesses operated on the parcels- a drum reclamation facility and plating operation;
- Both businesses were the subject of environmental enforcement actions by the Ohio Attorney General's Office;
- No environmental sampling has been performed prior to the project so it was impossible to know the levels of contamination present;
- Liens were on the properties that exceeded $1 million dollars;
- Hazardous waste units and drums were located on the parcels that needed to be cleaned and that work is ineligible for Clean Ohio funding;
- Buildings in poor condition were located on site that made it difficult to obtain samples; and
- Large debris piles were across the site.
All of these issues had to be addressed for the project to move forward. It is clear that without funding through Clean Ohio the costs of sampling and clean up alone would have prevented expansion onto these parcels. Without funding it was quite possible Miceli may have been forced to look outside Cleveland to expand its operations.
(Map: From Cleveland Plain Dealer Article cited above)