By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — HOLLEY — As a variety of projects come together in the village, the Holley Revitalization Strategy Committee is focusing on preparing for the long-term projects possible through the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program.
While the their work is still preliminary, the results of community surveys and public forums is already helping to shape the priorities of the committee.
On Monday, officials from Bergmann Associates presented the details of an inventory of existing conditions properties that are on environmental hazard lists or were frequently noted by residents as areas of concern.
There are 55 properties meeting those criteria, covering 1/6 of the total acreage in the village. It includes the Diaz Chemical site, the eight nearby houses owned by the EPA and the old Holley High School.
Bergmann Associates Environmental Business Segment Leader Gary Flisnick said the high school provides an excellent example of a site where many of the environmental risks are known. A 2006 initial screening found evidence of polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, pigeon waste, mold and evidence of a petroleum tank.
“More studies need to be done,” Flisnick said.
Knowing those types risks are important in the redevelopment of sites, which in the case of the high school may be quickly approaching. Village Trustee David Dill said Monday that an investor has expressed an interest in opening senior citizen residence at the old school.
“A developer has come forward and is very interested,” said Dill, who noted the mystery investor is well aware of the environmental challenges in rehabbing the school.
But for others, like the Diaz site, the process will be much slower. The inventory provided more detail in the plans for remediating the property, but the property has sat on the National Priorities List for eight years.
Bergmann Associates Senior Planner Dan Sundell said those sites will be included on the Phase 2 application that the Department of State has recommended the committee submit this spring.
“They want to see if there’s something to continue this process with ... we want to show this community needs help,” Sundell said.
Sundell will meet with groups of residents, business owners, cultural and historic groups in the next two months for focused discussions. A set of preliminary recommendations for the Phase 2 applications will be presented in April.
Improvements are expected to happen quicker in the village’s Public Square. The contract for a state-funded matching grant providing 75 percent of the cost of facade and building improvements has been signed, with an official from the Office of Community Renewal due to visit in March.