On December 16, 2022, Governor DeWine announced $88 million in grant funding for 123 brownfield remediation projects. This marks the third round of funding. Collectively, the three rounds of funding have resulted in a total of $341 million in grant funding awarded in one year. Of the $341 million in grant funds provided $19.2 million were assessment grant dollars (6%
of the total allocation) and $321.9 million were cleanup/remediation dollars (94%). 125 projects were awarded assessment dollars, and 188 projects were awarded cleanup/remediation grant dollars
The Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program (OBRG)is a truly transformational program. Many heralded the Clean Ohio brownfield grant program, which operated from approximately 2001 to 2012, as the “golden age” of brownfield cleanup and redevelopment in Ohio. During the 14 years Clean Ohio it awarded $400 million in grants for assessment and cleanup. The Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program will result in close to the same amount of funding in only one year. This truly is the golden age of brownfield redevelopment in Ohio.
Greater Ohio Policy Center released an excellent white paper that provides some great insights into the OBRG as well as the future for brownfield redevelopment in Ohio. Some of the key findings in the white paper include:
More Brownfield Funding is Needed– Even after $340 million in funding in one year there is still robust demand to address underutilized and contaminated sites across Ohio. The OBRG program was oversubscribed. The program was set up to be “first come first served” program. This meant applications that met the funding criteria were awarded funding in the order the applications were received until the funding ran out. Round 3 closed in just three days once the Department received requests for all remaining funding. I personally know of multiple projects that did not receive funding because applications were submitted after this three day period.
125 Projects are Poised for the Next Funding Cycle- Of the projects funded, 125 were assessment grants. This means these sites received funding for sampling to determine level of contamination on the property. Cleanup funding will be needed to put these projects back into productive use.
Ohio has the opportunity to build on this momentum by renewing the OBRG in the next budget cycle this July. This is an opportunity for Ohio to move past its “rust belt” moniker by addressing these legacy sites.