Commission OKs Fostoria Contract

City officials in Moundsville have taken the first step toward signing a contract that would allow crews to resume demolition and development of the former Fostoria Glass Factory.

During a Moundsville Municipal Building Commission meeting Thursday, members voted 2-1 to approve a renewed contract with developer Harold Games of GAB Enterprises LLC. GAB Enterprises is a company Games formed along with Lewis Aulenbaucher and Tom Brown of RAZE International, a firm that specializes in industrial and commercial development.

Now the contract must be approved by Moundsville City Council. It is on the agenda for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the city building.

Brown said once the contract is approved by council, GAB Enterprises will begin work on the site within two weeks.

“We’re going to go in and clean up the facility,” Brown said. “We want the people in the city to see that something is being accomplished.”

Cleanup has been an issue at the site since asbestos was discovered there last year. Abatement crews from Liberty Enterprises had been contracted by Games, who had not yet formed GAB Enterprises, to do the abatement – and nearly 70 percent of it was completed. However, the city’s contract with Games expired in December, so abatement – and demolition – were put on hold, pending approval of a renewed contract.

Brown said Liberty will continue to do some of the abatement once work resumes, but RAZE International will do the rest.

For months now, the commission has been negotiating the contract with Games. One of the sticking points of the contract was the possession of a property at the corner of First Street and Fostoria Avenue. In the renewed contract, that property will be deeded to GAB Enterprises within 60 days, as Games said he intends to develop that area first.

Commission member David Rickman said he disagreed with that part of the contract, noting it allows the company to terminate the agreement within 90 days of signing. He voted against renewing the contract.

Games assured Rickman he would not do that, and commission members Larry Clegg and Ricky Young said they believed Games would not terminate the contract.

The contract also includes a $50,000 penalty that would be assessed to GAB Enterprises should the Fostoria property not be developed as promised.

But Brown was adamant the project will be completed and that the penalty won’t have to be assessed.

“That won’t happen,” he said.

The Fostoria Glass Co. began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, on Dec. 15, 1887, because the area was rich with cheap natural gas. However, the supply soon ran low and, in 1891, Fostoria moved to Moundsville, where there was an abundance of gas, coal and other necessary glass-making materials.

In 1983, Lancaster Colony purchased the company but closed it for good in 1986.

The city bought the site several years ago with the intention of again making it a viable and productive part of the community. Soon after the purchase, officials entered into the contract with Games, who all along has intended to develop the area into a strip mall, possibly creating 40 new jobs.