Stoveworks Asbestos Clean-up Plan Approved By Lorain City Council

Illustration of legal cases for asbestos and mesothelioma

Lorain City Council has approved an asbestos removal and demolition plan for its former National Stoveworks site at West 13th Street and Long Avenue. The agreement settled on January 19 between the City Council.

Property owner Lorain Properties Co. LLP stated: “The city of Lorain and Lorain Properties desire to rid the subject real property … of conditions which constitute a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Lorain, Ohio.”

“I feel badly for people in that general area because they’ve been living with that for decades,” said City Law Director, Pat Riley, about the site desperately in need of clean-up.

Riley mentioned there will be more steps needed to remove the wood and brick rubble with the eventual goal of the land being owned by Lorain County Land Reutilization Corp., also known as the county land bank.

The agreement outlines the asbestos abatement and demolition of the building, but it still needs to be filed and approved at Lorain County Common Pleas Court. As a result, Lorain Properties will be required to pay $14k for Affiliated Environmental Services Inc. to properly dispose of the asbestos from March to May.

When left untouched, asbestos is not typically dangerous, but when it’s disturbed, the fibers can be released into the air and poses a risk to human health. Therefore, removal during the winter is not advised. The asbestos can become brittle and break, resulting in an even tougher and more costly abatement process.

A lien of $75,265 on the property by the Lorain Port Authority will also be filed to cover the environmental studies conducted from 2013 to 2015. The studies were originally funded by a 2012 brownfield redevelopment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“It’s specifically for purposes like this, to deal with situations that potentially need to be remediated,” said Executive Director of the Lorain Port Authority, Rick Novak. The grant demonstrates how the City of Lorain and its Port Authority are working together for economic development.

“The next step would be demolition of the building and the city is prepared to do that,” said Riley. Demolition includes removing the debris, but clean-up of other materials would be the responsibility of the future owner.

Riley has a meeting with the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office on January 25 to file the property’s foreclosure in the next 30 to 60 days. After making its way through court, the site could get auctioned at a sheriff’s sale. Since Riley doesn’t foresee any potential buyers, the property will most likely fall into the hands of the Lorain County land bank.

All legal processes must be complete before any ownership transfer can occur. A jury trial is scheduled for February 9th.

“Too big to be ignored,” said Ward 1 Councilman, Brian Gates, about the Council realizing this is an issue finally getting the attention it deserves.