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GIRARD Leatherworks cleanup halts



Published: Wed, August 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The city contends the partnership is financially liable for cleanup and fines imposed for zoning violations.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Work to clean up the old Ohio Leatherworks property on U.S. Route 422 stopped shortly after it got started.

Work started late last week to clean up the 27-acre site, which has been a thorn in the side of city officials for years. But a spokesman for Terreri & amp; Sons of North Jackson, the company hired by the Leatherworks Partnership to monitor the work and perform asbestos abatement, said activity would stop after Tuesday.

The spokesman said Gordon Schaaf of the Annapolis, Md., partnership, hasn't made a deposit with the company for the work.

Schaaf couldn't be reached, and Washington, D.C., lawyer C. Michael Tarone, who represents the partnership in a foreclosure case filed by the city, declined to comment.

Fire in '95: A tannery business operated on the land for about 80 years until it closed about 30 years ago. A 1995 fire destroyed much of the building. The cleanup was expected to take two to three weeks, and the Girard Fire Department had agreed to provide a hose connected to a nearby hydrant during the work. The company was to pay the city for the water used.

Water is used to wet down the asbestos and prevent it from wafting into the air. The city initiated foreclosure proceedings in 1999, contending the partnership owes it more than $200,000 in fines imposed after the city declared the site a general safety hazard.

Mayor's reaction: Mayor James Melfi, who had described his views of project completion as "cautiously optimistic," wasn't surprised the work stopped.

"The foreclosure is for hundreds of thousands of dollars in zoning violations that have accumulated each and every day," he said. "Those are costs that the city has incurred."

The foreclosure case is set for trial Tuesday before Anthony Cornicelli, a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court magistrate.

The city had thought it had reached a settlement with the partnership earlier this year under which the company would have deeded the property to the city, but it fell through.

dick@vindy.com




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