Cleaning Up: Former Gas Station Site to Find New Life as Greenspace

Old abandoned gas stations dotting the corners of our cities can be eyesores and blight communities. Cities struggle with what to do about polluted, abandoned gas stations and other petroleum-contaminated properties, commonly called petroleum brownfields.  Here’s a look at how the Cuyahoga Land Bank helped the City of Cleveland transform an abandoned gas station rife with contamination into a sustainable green space.

July 2015 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired via tax foreclosure a long-shuttered gas station on the corner of E. 105th and Ashbury in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. The parcel was among those being assembled for the extraordinary Greater Cleveland Fisher House project, a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and other area medical centers to be built across the street from the site.

September 2016 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $200,000 Petroleum Assessment Grant to the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank conducted Phase I (November 2016) and Phase II (First Quarter 2017) assessments on the property to determine the extent of contamination at the site using a small portion ($19,500) of the EPA grant. The studies found four underground storage tanks, contaminated soils, and asbestos in the small building.

October 2017 – With assessments in hand, the Cuyahoga Land Bank applied for funding for the site’s cleanup from the State of Ohio’s Development Services Agency’s (ODSA) newly created Abandoned Gas Station Clean Up Grant Program.

December 2017 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank was awarded nearly $100,000 in funding from OSDA’s Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant, which was used for the removal of the tanks, remediation of the soils at the site, and further testing and assessment.

June 2018 – Using its own operating funds, the Cuyahoga Land Bank demolished the gas station structure and cleared the site including contaminated soils.  Remediation and testing continued through the fall 2018.

December 2018 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank received a No Further Action (NFA) Letter from Ohio’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Removal (BUSTR), proclaiming the site as “clean.”

January 2019 – The cleaned parcel was transferred and is currently being developed by the City of Cleveland as a public plaza/greenspace as an enhancement to the Finch Group’s new Glenville CircleNorth mixed-use development project which includes 63 market-rate apartments.

“This project pulled together funding from federal, state and local agencies to enhance two fabulous projects and put an abandoned, environmentally contaminated site back into productive use,” says Kim Steigerwald, Acquisitions Manager at the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

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