Avon Lake officials present designs for redevelopment of closed power plant (pics)

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, LLC and Avon Lake city officials held the first public meeting about the project to redevelop the area surrounding the old power plant on July 19.

City officials previously announced the 100-year-old plant would be decommissioned in June of 2021, adding the old plant would run 55 days out of the year.

The historic Avon Lake power plant has sat along the city’s lakeshore for nearly a century. Dan Rogatto was the manager at the power plant for more than a decade.

“It’s a bittersweet thing right because I’m gonna watch that plant being demoed but looking at what could be kind of basically softens of the blow of that and I kind of get really excited about especially with the idea of them maybe preserving part of the plant,” Rogatto said.

Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, LLC shared renderings of the new site with 19 News.

The plans include creating a new park with a green space that connects the city of Avon Lake to the lakefront, as well as a public beach area and some private development that will include everything from office space, to restaurants, shops, bars, and residential space.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said Andrea Richards, an Avon Lake resident. “The power plant has been a figure here for so long. It’s gonna be sad in some ways to see it go, but happy in the environmental aspect of it and the opening up of the beach for Avon Lake.”

There were some community concerns about overdeveloping the waterfront.

“I just want to make sure it relates to what’s happening in Avon Lake and that we maybe don’t overdevelop it to where you don’t have access to the lake,” said Avon Lake resident Pattie Ferrari.

“I too am concerned about overdeveloping, high rises, and adding a lot of traffic and noise pollution and all that comes with it,” added Richards.

Protestors previously raised concerns with the new site, saying they should be getting jobs for the decommissioning of the plant.

In part, they believe Charah Solutions, the company leading the project, isn’t hiring enough local workers for the job.

“Ohio labor built this plant,” said Chuck Brooky, Business Manager with Laborer’s Local 758. “We maintained this plant and suddenly were not good enough to tear it down which is extremely alarming, extremely angering.”

The Vice President of Charah Solutions told 19 News they’ve hired a lot of people from the plant.

“Not all of them,” said Scott Reschly Vice President of Operations at Charah Solutions. “Obviously, we’re not gonna get all of them from Ohio but we do our best to continue to bring as much help from the local area as possible.”

Employees at Charah Solutions say right now their crew is made up of roughly 40-50% local workers, but that number will grow as the project moves forward.

A spokesperson for Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, a subsidiary of Charah Solutions, said among its priorities is hiring local workers.

“Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, LLC (ALERG) has always made it a priority to maintain a safe work environment and hire local Ohio workers, subcontractors, and vendors,” a spokesperson for ALERG said. “ALERG had an open bid process for the work taking place at the plant and we’ve continued to talk to local unions throughout this process. We’re focused on providing maximum benefits to all members of the community, providing increased economic activity and jobs while sustainably remediating the site for the betterment of the environment now and in the future.”

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka wants at least 75 percent of workers on the job to be local.

“I have told Charah and we brought it up a number of times,” said Zilka. “The $300,000 grant was the state of Ohio tax money and we would like to see local workers not just Lorain County but surrounding areas in Northeast Ohio. The workers are from different areas in Ohio or from out of state and we have tried to stress the fact that it’s important that local workers benefit from this.”

The demolition phase, which has already started, will take about a year to a year and a half.

The entire redevelopment is planned to be completed within the next 5 to 7 years.

This story is ongoing and will be updated as more details are released.

Copyright 2022 WOIO. All rights reserved.