Fostoria Site Is Clean, Ready

MOUNDSVILLE – After years of cleaning environmental contaminants from the former Fostoria Glass Co. Factory site, the land is ready for construction and redevelopment, according to Tom Brown of Shadyside-based GAB Enterprises Inc.

The state Department of Environmental Protection recently granted approval to GAB Enterprises, who owns the First Street site, to begin building. The firm has agreed to abide by the DEP’s guidelines to address environmental conditions during development.

“We have finally reached a point where the people willing to be tenants on the property or to be a partner in development are able to invest in the property and be free of liability issues that were there,” Brown said.

The site previously contained levels of PCBs, lead and asbestos that were over the limit for residential, commercial or industrial use. The DEP recently determined there are still contaminants, but levels are only too high for residential use.

Some patches of land on the 8.2-acre site still containing contaminants will be capped off by asphalt or concrete, probably in the form of a parking lot, Brown said.

“It’s not the contaminants are bad, but they are over the limit for residential use,” Brown said. “At the same time, we’re allowed to have commercial, industry or retail, but it doesn’t mean we won’t take precautions in the areas that are over threshold for residential use. They still want us to be cautious, but proceed, which is a good thing.”

Even though he would not go into specifics, Brown said several investors have expressed interest in the property and that the site is being considered for commercial, retail or light industrial use. GAB Enterprises will be “aggressively pursuing tenants” and interested parties, and development plans will be announced later in the month, Brown said. Residents can expect more work in the near future, including the demolition of the last building on the site as well as further cleanup.

“This has been a partnership to get this accomplished through the state Brownfield group, GAB, (Marshall) county and the city,” Brown said. “We’ve all worked together to get this to this point.”

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, causing Fostoria to move in 1891 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 a contract to demolish the former factory and develop the site for retail. Demolition crews then began tearing down the factory. However, asbestos was discovered in five sections of the factory.

Demolition work was stopped while abatement was done and then continued as different sections of the site were cleaned.