McBee Systems, Athens, Ohio
Ohio EPA has approved the approximately 23-acre State Side Technology Park for commercial and industrial use. Through the voluntary efforts of Deluxe Business Operations Inc. and East State Street Development Company LLC, the site, located at 1055 E. State St. in Athens (Athens County), is now being redeveloped.
Royal Typewriter Company, the original property owner, merged with McBee Business Systems of Athens in the 1960s and changed its name to the Royal McBee Company. Business form and check printing continued under a variety of owners doing business as McBee Systems Inc. Prior to the shutdown of operations in 2006, the most recent owner was Deluxe Business Operations Inc. The property is now owned by East State Street Development Company LLC. A biomedical firm currently occupies a portion of the property.
The main chemicals of concern included volatile organic compounds, total petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs and metals. Approximately 82 tons of contaminated soil were excavated and transported off-site for disposal at a permitted solid waste facility. An environmental covenant places activity and use limitations on the property, including ground water use. An operation and maintenance plan will govern the implementation of the site’s ground water remedy, which consists of monitoring to confirm the property continues to meet applicable standards for ground water at the site boundaries. The plan also includes appropriate contingency measures to address potential contamination migration.
Whittier Peninsula, Columbus, Ohio
Scioto Audubon is the newest addition to Franklin County Metro Parks and is the only urban park in the system. The 71-acre park is located on the bank of the Scioto River on the Whittier peninsula in downtown Columbus and was developed as a partnership effort between Metro Parks, the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and Audubon Ohio. Metro Parks has created seven wetland cells totaling about five acres to enhance the wildlife habitat. Wetland birds such as wood ducks, blue-winged teal and sand pipers have been attracted to the park, along with egrets, northern pintail ducks, pied-billed grebe, American bittern, herons and osprey.
In addition to birding, there are opportunities for fishing and boating, as well as hiking and jogging. The park has one of the largest outdoor climbing walls in the United States available for experienced climbers to enjoy. The three towers and two arches of the main climbing wall reach a height of 35 feet, and extend over 6,100 square feet. A shade structure with seating is available nearby the climbing wall, as well as sand volleyball courts and Neos, an interactive electronic game. Audubon Ohio operates a downtown nature center inside the park, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center at 505 W. Whittier Street.
The entire Whittier Peninsula project has been funded with local, state and federal dollars. In 1998, Columbus City Council adopted the Olentangy and Scioto Riverfront Vision Plan. In 2003, the city, Audubon Ohio and Metro Parks reached an agreement to redevelop the peninsula as the city’s first downtown metro park. The $10 million park development included a renovated boat launch and $14.5 million for the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.
In 2005, ODOD awarded Metro Parks a $742,500 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant for the 2008 demolition of the former F&R Lazarus & Co. furniture distribution center warehouse (built in 1946) and cleanup on the surrounding 12.6-acre property, once the site of a steel foundry and sand and gravel mining operation. A certified professional from Burgess and Niple identified contaminated soil and ground water on the Northern Tier and removed nearly 10,650 cubic yards of soil and asbestos before demolishing the former Maier Warehouse. A risk mitigation plan provides protective measures from potential future exposure, and an environmental covenant restricts the property to recreational, commercial and/or industrial land use and prohibits ground water extraction. U.S. EPA issued a $200,000 Brownfields Assessment grant for Metro Parks to develop a cleanup plan for the Columbus Impound Lot, located on the peninsula’s roughly 80-acre Southern Tier.
In June 2008, Ohio EPA celebrated the cleanup of the 26-acre property through the Voluntary Action Program (VAP) on which the 18,000-square-foot Grange Insurance Audubon Center was built using sustainable “green” building design and alternative energy, namely a geothermal heating and cooling system. The covenant not to sue (CNS) issued through the VAP recognizes the certified cleanup work voluntarily performed at the Northern Tier and documents that the property complies with Ohio EPA’s standards for recreational land use. The CNS approves redevelopment of the Northern Tier for a dog park, wetlands, walking trails, playfields and picnic areas. The CNS releases Metro Parks from liability to perform additional investigations and cleanup activities at the Northern Tier for past releases of hazardous substances or petroleum. In June Ohio EPA officially recognized the cleanup of the 12.6-acre former Lazarus Warehouse property, where Metro Parks’ climbing wall, water tower/observation decks, playground, sand volleyball court and interactive electronic agility game are located.