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Lorain Co. working to demolish vacant gas stations posing potential health, environmental risks

Posted at 4:50 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 18:10:54-05

LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio — Abandoned gas stations across Lorain County have been deemed eyesores and county officials are working to get rid of them.

Lorain County Director of Community Development, Don Romancak, says the Ohio Abandoned Gas Station Grant will help. Romancak says his team has tried to go after the $500,000 grant for years.

“We’ve just not been able to identify the right properties and to be able to put it all together,” Romancak said. “Being able to clean up something like that would be a big help to the local community.”

Romancak’s team identified more than 45 vacant gas stations throughout the county. However, he says so far only two are eligible to be covered under the grant. Romancak says they may pose health risks.

“Fuel oil - gasoline in the ground will migrate,” he said. “It could lead into a ditch or into a stream and begin to contaminating children and people can come in contact when these flood.”

But, the vacant gas stations could also attract crime and vandals.

“It can lead to activity that we really do not want or need in our communities,” Romancak said. “These are things that the board of commissioners, my staff and our community is taking very seriously.”

According to the Ohio Development Services Agency, properties with a documented petroleum release that has been classified as 'Class C' are eligible for the grant.

“This is truly for properties that have been abandoned for one reason or another so there’s no one that the state or the local community can go after to clean them up,” Romancak said.

Romancak hopes the county will get grant approval by late spring or early summer. In the meantime, county commissioners are allowing his office to start seeking contractors and environmentalists professionals to help complete the project and to provide guidance throughout the overall process.

According to a county press release, Professional Service firms interested in providing the required services should reply with a statement of qualifications no later than 11:30 a.m., on January 3, 2020. Statements received after this deadline will not be considered. Statements of qualifications should include information regarding the firm's history; education and experience of key technical personnel; firm's experience in similar projects; size and availability of staff; familiarity of project; references and/or any previous work performed for the Lorain County Community Development Department; and other pertinent information.

For more information, contact the Lorain County Community Development Department at 440-328-2323.