Hazardous vacant factories in Cleveland could require a $500 million clean-up

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jun 15, 2016

Some Cleveland leaders believe it could be the cities most massive and expensive hazardous clean-up; taking down the dozens of vacant factories that continue to litter the landscape.

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek told his ward has lost 25,000 jobs east of Eddy Road, and years later the potentially dangerous vacant factories have been sitting wide open.

"General Electric, Sylvania, Hough, Gabriel Shock Absorbers, Murray Bicycle, Bailey Meter, Lindsey Wire, they're all gone," said Polensek.

"Now the vacant factories are just a tsunamis of decay, havens for dumping, dead body dumped over there, dead body dumped up the street."

Polensek and former Cleveland Council President Jay Westbrook agreed it could take up to $500 million to take down the dozens of vacant factories that are plaguing all parts of the city.

Westbrook said federal and state funding will be needed to get the job done, some of the old plants set-up some massive environmental, as well as structural clean-ups.

Westbrook also made it clear greater city code enforcement is needed, bringing building owners into court before a factory is too far gone.

"Code enforcement is your early detection system," said Westbrook.  "We have a flood of problems and we get a tiny trickle of enforcement.

Meanwhile Polensek said some cases are in litigation, pointing the case against the owners of the former National Acme building on Cleveland's east side.

Polensek said the case is now in federal court as the city tries to get the building owners to take financial responsibility for the $5.9 million clean-up on the 15 acre parcel.

"This is one of the biggest problems facing our city," said Polensek.  "Right now there is no plan to deal with the cost and the massive clean-up."