September 19, 2014

Elyria
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GM site gets $7.3 million for cleanup

ELYRIA — More than $7 million has been earmarked for the shuttered Gen­eral Motors plant on Lowell Street, which will likely need extensive work before it can be used again.

The former GM Fisher Guide plant on Lowell Street in Elyria. (CT file photo.)

The former GM Fisher Guide plant on Lowell Street in Elyria. (CT file photo.)

The money is part of an environmen­tal trust agreement among GM, the U.S. Department of Justice and 14 states, including Ohio.

Attorney General Richard Cordray said Ohio has secured approximately $39 mil­lion in cleanup and remediation funding that will help return the sites to produc­tive use, allowing jobs to be created at these locations.

Approximately $7.3 million will be set aside for the Elyria site and will be used for maintenance as well as monitoring hazardous waste on the property.

The Elyria site, known as the Fisher Guide plant, ended production in 1988. It has mostly been empty, aside from a period years ago when part of the plant was used as warehouse space by Poly-One.

The most recent interest in the facility came from a Cleveland business owner who expressed the desire to possibly move a new manufacturing facility to the area. He hoped to set up shop at either the Ford Motor Co.’s former Lorain Assembly Plant on Baumhart Road or the Fisher Guide plant and produce a new kind of composite rebar that has twice the strength of steel but a quarter of its weight.

The deal has not gone through, but returning the 141-acre site back to pro­ductive use could mean other deals could be made, said Mayor Bill Grace.

Although the facility is not under the city’s jurisdiction,

Grace said, “It’s always nice to receive outside funding that could benefit the city.”

He said he is eager to learn of the finer points of the trust and how it could benefit a local in Elyria that could spur development.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, said he commends those who worked to forge the agreement to ensure GM upheld its promise to Ohio.

“These funds will help transform contaminated

Brownfields into opportunities for redevelopment and new growth, which is critical for the economic rebirth of these former GM towns,” Brown said.

Other GM sites in Parma and three other Ohio cities will benefit from the trust agreement.

Gov. Ted Strickland also said the cleanup work could spur economic development.

“We’ve readied Ohio for job creation by cutting taxes and regulations and prioritizing investments in growth industries like manufacturing,” he said. “And securing this environmental trust agreement will help to clean up and prepare these abandoned auto manufacturing sites for redevelopment.”

The settlement is part of the liquidation plan filed by the GM as it went through bankruptcy. The plan and the settlement must still be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Approval is expected early in 2011.

A total of $499 million in environmental property funding is being set aside in the trust for the cleanup of a total of 89 sites in 14 states.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.