Rescue plan

Ohio County invests US bailout funds

CLEVELAND — One of Ohio’s largest counties has a significant amount of unused land, but that could change.

What do you want to know

  • Cuyahoga County pledges $5 million for brownfields remediation
  • With council approval, county will use US bailout funding to clean up properties
  • The Foundry Project hopes to clean up unused land

On a cold, windy day in Cleveland, J Shorey walked past the old T&B Foundry, a metal casting plant that closed about a decade ago and is now vacant.

“Some people look at this building and think it’s just an eyesore waiting to be torn down. And I see it as a space where vibrant, artistic and other ideas can be housed, supported and generated. It’s what I see,” Shorey said.

With a background in biology and law, Shorey has big plans for what he calls the Foundry Project, which would involve redevelopment of the site. He attributes his motivation to his mother.

“It’s part of me to look at the waste and say, ‘What can we do to extract value from it? “”

He wants to transform the foundry into an urban farm that can also be used for education. According to Shorey, the site is on a brownfield site, so part of the property could be contaminated with things like asbestos from the tower.

Cuyahoga County has pledged $5 million to cover local brownfield cleanup costs. Shorey said the money was needed to complete projects like this.

” It’s a company. We have to approach the investors, and tell an investor they have to spend three quarters of a million dollars to get the building to where it’s safe to go, that’s a pretty steep hill to climb,” said Shorey.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said council will need to approve the use of U.S. bailout funding for the cleanup. It’s something he said could open the door for more development in unused sites across the county.

“We don’t have a lot of green space in Cuyahoga County, a lot of open farmland, for example, that could be developed. But we have, for example, old industrial sites that need to be cleaned up. If they are cleaned, they can be usable. We have assets; we just need to clean it up,” Budish said.

Shorey said he hopes cleaning up these sites will result in less waste and more opportunity for the region.

“You have to believe in the potential of Cleveland and the potential of the county to take the opportunities that are in front of us,” Shorey said. “We are lucky to have a good space, great resources.”​