$350 M Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program Creates Redevelopment Opportunities

The Ohio Department of Development’s Brownfield Remediation Program provides a substantial source of funding for redevelopment projects.  Recent guidelines on the program were released that provide insight for those preparing to apply for funding.

The Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program was created to award grants for the remediation of brownfield sites throughout Ohio, to assist in the remediation of hazardous substances or petroleum at an industrial, commercial, or institutional property. Remediation includes acquisition of a brownfield, demolition performed at a brownfield, and the installation or upgrade of the minimum amount of infrastructure that is necessary to make a brownfield operational for economic development activity. $350 M in funds are available and were provided to the Ohio Department of Development for this program with $1 M set aside for each of the 88 Ohio counties. If the county funds are not obligated by June 30, 2022, funds will become available to all eligible projects. Remaining funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligible applicants are a county, township, municipal corporation, port authority, or conservancy district or a park district, county land reutilization corporation, non-profit or for-profit organization who has an agreement with a local government to work in conjunction on a Brownfield project.  Entities that caused or contributed to the contamination at the property are not an eligible partner or applicant. Eligible properties must be a brownfield which is defined as an abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial, commercial, or institutional property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by known or potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum. Awards may be made for environmental assessments up to $300,000. Funding can be providing for remediation and administrative costs but not for application preparation and legal counsel related to the application or project implementation, costs incurred prior to the grant agreement beginning date, costs related to site clearance (i.e. clearing, grubbing, removing solid waste) are all not eligible.

For projects awarded through the dedicated county portion ($1 million set-aside), match is not required but for projects awarded outside of the county’s dedicated portion a 25% match is required. Acceptable sources of match funds may include local government, state government, federal government and by for-profit or nonprofit entities, future in-kind costs can be considered as an eligible expense for match, funds that were utilized previously, within the last two years may also be used for match.

Applicants are permitted to submit one application per property. Ohio Department of Development will provide funding in three rounds. Round one will be open upon the release of these guidelines, and the application will be available to submit until January 31, 2022. Development will prioritize the $1 million dedicated portion to first fund eligible projects that do not have a match available for the project. If after the first round, the first $1 million in awards have not been obligated, development will review what counties have not utilized their full $1 million allocation of dedicated funds and inform the respective Board of County Commissioners of the availability of funds prior to the second round. Round two will open on March 1, 2022, for those counties that still have funds from their dedicated set-aside available. Round two will conclude on April 30, 2022. Round three will open on July 1, 2022, to utilize the remaining portion of the state funding if available and will include portions of the county set-asides that were not expended in rounds one and two. Round three will remain open until September 30, 2022, or until funds have been depleted. Awarded funds outside of the dedicated county portion will be reviewed and awarded on a “first-come first-served” basis.

If you need assistance with the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program, please contact Dave Robinson at drobinson@montrosegroupllc.com.