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ENVIRONMENT County uses funds to manage land and waterways



Published: Wed, July 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The projects are river restoration, flood mapping, rural sewers and an asbestos survey.

WARREN -- Trumbull County continues to benefit from the use of state and federal money to acquire, clean up or manage land and waterways.

The Lover's Lane dam on the Mahoning River was removed in June by the Ohio Department of Transportation. That project cost between $45,000 and $50,000.

Next spring, ODOT will remove the North River Road Dam. Agreement has been reached to turn over CSC Steel property near the sluice on the river to county commissioners, according to the Trumbull County Planning Commission.

This property is needed to gain access to the dam there to remove it. The half-acre parcel on the river's south side will be transferred to the Trumbull County Metropolitan Parks Board for use as a canoe launch site.

Once the dams are removed the river will flow freely and public access will be improved.

Floodplains

In another matter, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has notified the county that its floodplain maps update will be funded for 2006 under the state's Map Modernization program.

Federal and state agencies are requiring Trumbull County to update its outdated maps. These National Flood Insurance Program maps must reflect changes that have occurred over the last few decades.

The maps have to be kept up-to-date so that county residents can qualify for help in the event of a flood. Trumbull County has 6,300 structures in flood-prone areas.

"They would take our flood insurance away if some of these things are not brought up to date," explained Trish Nuskievicz, county floodplains administrator. "Ours are well over 27 years since we were last updated."

In other business, the county planning commission staff has requested that the U.S. EPA consider approving use of up to $10,000 from a Brownfield Assessment Pilot Grant toward an asbestos survey at the former Trumbull County Nursing Home property in Brookfield Township.

The money comes from a $180,000 grant received for testing the former Ohio Leatherworks property on U.S. Route 422 for environmental hazards. The city got the grant four years ago, but can't reach a settlement with the owners for gaining ownership of the 27 acres. The tannery ceased operations in 1971. If Girard doesn't use the money, it will go to another brownfield project.

The U.S. EPA supports using the $10,000 while Girard and Leatherworks owners continue to work out liability details concerning the eventual cleanup, Nuskievicz said.

Other projects

Trumbull County, meanwhile, wants to sell the nursing home property, a former Army radar site. It's possible the old buildings at the site may contain asbestos, something that would have to be taken care of before development there can occur. The nursing home closed in the early 1980s.

The Army says it cleaned up fuel tanks and soil after it turned over the property to the county in the 1960s.

In Kinsman, meanwhile, a stalled sewer project may get moving again. The Chicago office of the Economic Development Administration might invite a full application for the first phase of the sanitary sewer project. The county wants the grant for 50 percent of the estimated engineering and construction costs.

Commissioners in February authorized a pre-application for a $400,000 EDA grant that was supposed to free up $190,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $90,000 from the county's revolving loan fund.

Now, however, the planning commission staff is working with the sanitary engineer to identify other funding sources to replace the $190,000 grant that the USDA has rejected because of federal budget cuts.

Commissioners have approved a $1 purchase agreement to buy a sewer treatment plant at the shuttered Kraft dairy products factory in Kinsman Township. If the funding snag can be overcome, that plant on Burnett-East Road could provide the solution to sewage problems in the township center.

"Now, they are talking about funding it," planning commission Director Alan Knapp said of the EDA.




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