Moundsville’s 10-year effort to clean up the site of a former Fostoria Glass factory could finish before fall, giving the city and some local would-be developers the chance to find new commercial tenants.
The city has applied to enter a voluntary remediation program with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the last step in rehabilitating the 8.2-acre site along U.S. Route 250.
“We’re hoping that by the end of the summer, the site will be leveled and ready to move forward,” City Manager Allen Hendershot said Wednesday.
Although no specific tenants have been identified, the city envisions some sort of retail use, such as a strip mall or a hotel and restaurants.
Fostoria Glass was known for its dinnerware and hand-blown stemware. The company began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, in 1887 and moved to Moundsville in 1891.
In its heyday, it employed nearly 800 people on three shifts and was a major contributor to the vitality of the city. Later, the plant changed owners, and it closed in 1986.
The property sat vacant until 2001, when Hendershot said the city bought it for $7 — $1 per parcel.
“It was a bargain,” Hendershot said, “but at the time the future of the site wasn’t clear. No future developers were on the horizon.”
Moundsville formed a public-private venture with a local company, GAB Enterprises LLC, whose principals work in the construction, demolition and abatement industries.
Together, they levered a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program to do about $500,000 worth of demolition and debris removal, Hendershot said.
Only two buildings remain on the site. One may be renovated and reused; the other will likely be razed.
The site was tainted with chemicals including arsenic and lead, which were key ingredients in glassmaking, and poly aromatic hydrocarbons, produced by the oil used to fuel the plant’s furnaces.
By joining the state’s voluntary remediation program, the city hopes to obtain a certificate of completion that essentially gives the site a clean bill of health. It will then turn the property over to GAB Enterprises to develop.
“The plant sitting there deteriorating was a negative on the ego of the city,” Hendershot said. “We’re just excited that it’s moving forward, and we hope it’s a sign for the future.”