Pike County residents tired of blighted properties left behind when a business closes have the opportunity to learn how they can revitalize the property.Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is offering a free workshop in Waverly about redeveloping brownfields this afternoon.
"Essentially a brownfield could be an abandoned industrial property for example that may at one time have been contaminated with hazardous waste or pollution," explained Ohio EPA spokeswoman Erin Strouse. Representatives from Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Development, U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Office and Kansas State University will be present to speak on issues such as Clean Ohio Fund, Ohio EPA's Voluntary Action Program and Ohio Department of Development's Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.
Strouse says the workshops are especially geared toward city council members and village officials. "We want to let them know about all the grants and loans and services available to them to help their community find some assistance with redevelopment of those brownfields. We have many computer programs that are available for managing their brownfields, from writing grants to be able to get the assistance they need to move forward," she said.
However, residents from both Pike County and adjoining counties are welcome to attend. "They are encouraged to know there is so much available to them to revitalize a property that may have sat idle for years and here there are some real opportunities to clean up contamination to redevelop a blighted property to infuse some hope and economic development back into that community," said Strouse. Strouse says in the past 16 years, Ohio EPA has redeveloped more than 6,000 acres of land and 300 brownfield sites across the state.
Anyone interested in having a workshop take place in their county is welcome to contact Ohio EPA to set up a date. The next workshop in the region will take place Sept. 15 in Belmont County.