On June 4, 2008, the Clean Ohio Council approved two new grant rounds (Rounds 5 and 6) to encourage brownfield redevelopment through its Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF). As noted in a recent stakeholder report on the Clean Ohio Program, the CORF is "seen as a significant national model that other states strive to replicate." If you are not familiar with the program, I urge you to take the time to learn about the benefits.
While the main benefit of the program is that it allows participants to offset clean up costs associated with industrial and commercial properties, there are also significant tax and legal advantages to participation. Attached is a client note that I prepared that provides more detail regarding the program.
The most significant change made to the program is the creation of a new grant option called the "development ready track." Now applicants have two options, they can elect to participate in the "known end use track" or the "development ready track." The major difference is that under the "development ready track" an applicant for grant funds does not need to identify an end user that has committed to the property post clean up and development.
The "development ready track" favors properties that have potential to attract future economic development. For example, properties that have existing sewer and water service or are in close proximity to transportation will receive higher scores using the new scoring methodology developed for this track.
Under the "development ready track" the maximum amount an applicant can request is $2 million instead of the $3 million potentially available under the "known end use track." You may not use any of the grant funds for acquisition of the property, whereas the "known end use track" allows up to 33% of your total grant request to go toward acquisition.
Even with these differences, the "development ready track" presents a new opportunity to communities, businesses and developers. For communities, it provides an opportunity to drive economic growth toward priority development areas. For developers, it increases the number of properties that could potentially be viable projects.