Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Develop put the following notice on the Clean Ohio Fund webpage:
Effective immediately: The Clean Ohio Assistance Fund is no longer accepting applications. If you have a project and would like to discuss other funding opportunities please contact us.
Back in October, Governor Kasich announced that he was redirecting the funding for the Clean Ohio program to his JobsOhio economic development program. Funding would remain for one additional round of the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund which provides up to $3 million in clean up grants for brownfield redevelopment..
In addition, funding for the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund (COAF) was thought to last through June 2012. However when the announcement was made that funding was shifted to JobsOhio it cast doubt on the future of the Clean Ohio program. As a result, the Department of Development was flooded with COAF applications in December. No one wanted to risk missing what could the last of the Clean Ohio funding.
Due to the rush of applications, all available funding was already allocated in December for the COAF program. Several projects that were also seeking funding were told they were too late.
With the last round of CORF this month and the announcement ODOD is no longer accepting applications for the COAF program, the Clean Ohio program in Ohio is effectively closed. This announcement is disappointing since the program was one of the most successful in the country in spurring revitalization of brownfield properties.
In November, the Governor's spokesperson indicated the Administration was looking to find new revenue to continue the program. No such funding has been identified to date. The prospects for finding new revenue must be very uncertain because the Department is not even allowing developers to submit applications to form a line when funding does come available.
Signs point that the Country and State's economy may slowly be turning the corner. If that is indeed the case, It would be nice to have the tools in place to direct new development to abandoned sites and contaminated properties which populate Ohio's urban core.