Clean Ohio Council has expanded the types of eligible projects that can receive funding under the Clean Ohio Revitilization Fund (CORF). Parks, urban waterfronts, solar and wind projects are now eligible for funding so long as these projects take place on a brownfield.
This change will create greater competition begining in Round 10 of the program.
Three Grant Tracks Under CORF
For round 10 of the CORF, applicants can now seek funding under three different development scenarios:
- Known End Use Track- $3 million for projects with a use of the property identified as part of the application.
- Redevelopment Read Track- $2 million for projects on land believed to be primed for redevelopment, but with no specific end use identified.
- Sustainable Reinvestment Pilot Track- $1.5 million for sustainable Infrastructure, which includes certain park projects and green infrastructure, urban waterfronts, and cleanfields and brightfields (Wind and Solar projects).
The CORF program has funded very good projects which have always been classic brownfield redevelopment projects, such as the following:
- Construction of new commercial or industrial facilities on a brownfield property
- Expansion of existing industrial and manufacturing facilities onto contaminated land
- Refurbishment and/or renovation of existing structures for reuse
The classic redevelopment projects with known end users have become less frequent in recent rounds. In order to increase the number of applicants, the Clean Ohio Council decided to create the Known End User Track. This allowed clean up of brownfields in key locations in hopes of attracting development on these parcels.
Perhaps because the State fears future reductions in applications submitted for CORF, the Clean Ohio has decided to expand eligible projects far beyond the classic brownfield redevelopment project.
Sustainable Reinvestment Pilot Track
In Round 10 of the program, there will be up to $8 million available for these projects. Here are some of the key aspects of the Sustainable Reinvestment Pilot Track:
- Can only get a maximum of $1.5 million in funding
- Must be on a brownfield
- Can spend the grant funds on demolition, clean up and infrastructure activities
- Infrastructure expenditures are capped at $400,000
- For this track, the definition of "infrastructure" is expanded to include:
- structures used to manage stormwater
- stream restoration
- 25% Match is required, and the following can be used as match:
- park amenities
- plants, trees, landscaping, urban gardens
- solar panels and components
- wind turbine components
- green roofs
- Projects must meet the following for infrastructure or new construction:
- Follow sustainable best practices
- Green Infrastructure Guidelines
- Local ordinance mandating all future construction on the project property meet LEED guidelines for a period of 10 years
Parks and Waterfront Restoration Projects Now Eligible
Under the new track, parks and urban waterfronts redevelopments can also be projects. This subcategory is called the Signature Parks, Sustainable Infrastructure and Urban Waterfronts category. All park and waterfront projects must meet the following:
- 80% of area must be greenspace or public space
- max 20% of area can be used for parking
- deed restrictions good for 10 years
- commitment for maintenance and stewardship
- Signature Parks or Sustainable Infrastructure must be a minimum of 1.5 acres
- Urban Waterfront projects must be a minimum of 1.0 acre
Cleanfields/Brightfields (Wind and Solar)
Nothing is provided in the Round 10 CORF policies regarding restrictions on this subcategory of the Sustainable Reinvestment Track. However, if you review the scoring methodology the Council will use to evaluate these projects, the following a key considerations:
- project site has grid access with a participating electric company; or
- project will result in net-metering for an existing entity
- the electric generation site will be a minimum of 25 acres
Impact of New Track
Clean Ohio has not increased funding by $8 million. Rather, the Council decided to make up to $8 million of the total $23 million available in CORF Round 10 available for the new Sustainable Reinvestment projects. For future applicants, this change likely means increased competition.
While grant funding for wind, solar, parks and urban stream restoration is understandable, the Clean Ohio program is moving away from classic brownfield redevelopment projects. The core of the program has always been to remove the barriers to commercial and/or industrial reuse of contaminated land. In essence, with more competition less money will be available for these classic clean up projects.
Applications are due to your local library by January 14, 2011 as a part of the scheduled Round 10 of the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund. Approved applications will be announced in May 2011.