By Grace Wyler
By GRACE WYLER
Efforts to obtain state funds to clean up Sherman International’s Wilson Avenue property cleared the first hurdle this week, with initial approval of the city’s Clean Ohio grant application.
The state director of development, Lisa Patt-McDaniel, has approved Campbell’s request for $300,000 to do an environmental assessment on 40 acres of former industrial land owned by Sherman, the Ohio Department of Development confirmed Tuesday.
The grant will be reviewed for final approval by the state Controlling Board on Aug. 23.
Elected representatives involved in the proposal said they are excited to move forward with plans to clean up and redevelop the property.
“We are very excited,” said Campbell Mayor George Krinos. “It is a step toward our ultimate goal, which is cleaning the land and making it a viable place for a business.”
Sherman has said it plans to build a cold-rolling steel mill on the property. The plant would employ 700 workers, the company said, and subsequent phases of the project would expand the mill, with up to 3,500 employees.
Despite the company’s troubled background, which includes legal and financial problems, Krinos said that the city will continue to work with Sherman’s owners, Krishna and Om Sharma, on redeveloping the property.
The city plans to apply for a $3 million Clean Ohio grant to clean up the land when the assessment is complete, Krinos said. The grant would require an economic development partner to commit to a business plan for the site.
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, who has been involved with the plans since January, said that Sherman’s proposal will undergo a thorough review before further state funds are awarded.
“A lot of questions have been brought up in this process,” Schiavoni said. “We are going to continue to work on finding out whether the Sherman plan is viable.”