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$2M Clean Ohio grant could turn Hamilton brownfield site into alternative energy facility

550 North Third Street used to be a part of Hamilton's robust paper past. Previously occupied by Champion Paper Company, the building could soon be home to an "alternative energy power generation facility" that would be used to support the city's electric system.

Hamilton purchased the site in 2007 with the intention of redeveloping the site to "expand and repower" the existing, adjacent coal-fired municipal power plant.  In order to make that happen officials say that $3,272,605 of Clean Ohio funds is needed to demolish all existing structures and remediate identified areas of concern on the site.

The Clean Ohio Fund is used throughout the State to restore, protect and connect Ohio's important natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.

Once redeveloped, Hamilton officials say that the site will specifically be used as the storage and delivery area for biomass and other waste to be used for repowering purposes.  The new alternative energy facility is estimated to process 750 tons per day of biomass, waste and other products that will generate about 150,000 megawatt-hours per year of carbon neutral energy.

The nearly $3.3 million grant would result in an investment of approximately $200-225 million, create 40 new jobs and retain another 50.  It is also anticipated that the project will increase income tax revenues by $40,000 per year.

The City has already begun conceptual planning and will move forward with a preliminary feasibility study this fall.  Additional work will then move forward as early as January 2010, with additional site work to follow.

The remediation process will include asbestos abatement, groundwater contamination and removal of impacted soils.  City officials also say that the demolition of the existing buildings will rid the surrounding neighborhood of deteriorating structures and "alleviate the presence of vagrants."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
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