A new report touts the virtues and benefits of Ohio's program to redevelop closed and abandoned industrial sites known as brownfields. The report comes from one of the program's biggest backers - the nonprofit Greater Ohio Policy Center. ideastream's Bill Rice has more.
Greater Ohio's report shows the brownfield effort has not just cleaned up old, contaminated sites, but has shown positive economic outcomes as well. It examines 21sites the group says accurately reflect the 160 that have been redeveloped or are still in the process over twelve years. Among it's most telling findings: a return on investment of nearly $5 of economic activity for for each dollar spent on clean-up and redevelopment.
That's meant more than a billion dollars added to the state's gross domestic product, $350 million in individual and business earnings, and $42 million in state and local tax revenues. And, say Greater Ohio Executive Director Lavea Brachman, that's all just from the predevelopment clean-up phase.
Brachman: "Predevelopment at these 21 sites such as demolition, asbestos removal, grading of the soil to an even grade - those kinds of things you have to do once to prepare the site. Those activities, we're calling them predevelopment, produce this return on investment."
The development phase produces another one time economic boost, and then new business OPERATIONS produce ongoing ANNUAL returns.
All this means jobs, Brachman says.. And that's a top priority for the non-profit business development agency JobsOhio created by Governor Kasich. Greater Ohio's report urges that the program be continued after its current funding expires. Kristi Tanner of JobsOhio says she views the report as very positive, and says brownfield redevelopment will not be abandoned. But the program's focus and process will undergo changes that are still being worked out. The revamped program will be rolled out this summer.