by Emily Canning-Dean
Bedford -- Since the late 1980s, the former Brush Wellman site sat vacant. A 49-acre parcel off Egbert Road with contaminated soil, the land was undevelopable.
Cost of remediation was estimated at $4 million and turning the land into developable property seemed almost impossible.
But with a lot of work from officials from Cuyahoga County, the city of Bedford and several other entities, funds were obtained to clean up the land in 2004.
Now, the site is called Tinkers Creek Commerce Park and is the home of Taylor Chair Co., a business that has been in Bedford for more than 150 years.
Taylor Chair, which was considering leaving state because of a need to expand, moved its operations from Taylor Street and added 20 new jobs.
This work impressed officials at the Ohio office of Housing and Urban Development, Community Planning and Development division.
In July, the organization chose Cuyahoga County for the 2007 CPD award of excellence because of the project.
"We were impressed because there is a clear need for business development in Northeast Ohio and obtaining funds to clean up a brownfield can be difficult," said Rich Hendershot, program manager for HUD's community planning and development division. "There was a lot of work that went into that project."
Hendershot said officials from the county were given a plaque at an awards luncheon July 25.Hendershot said county officials were also given a chance to talk at the luncheon to other officials about the project and "its challenges and what made it successful."
Jim Herron, brownfield manager for Cuyahoga County, said he believes the project was such a success because of good partnership.
"I think that is how the site really got on the radar screen," Herron said. "The key is that you really have to work with people and get them all on the same page."
Herron said the county awarded a $950,000 grant to help clean up the site. Grants from the federal and state governments also contributed to the remediation.
New company to build
For now, Taylor Chair is the only business located at Tinkers Creek Commerce Park, but it might soon be joined by Hemisphere Development.
Bedford City Manager Bob Reid said the city's planning commission approved Hemisphere's site plan for a $1.3 million, 18,000-square-foot office building.
Reid said the building would sit on a 3-acre parcel and the company would bring 60 jobs into the city. Reid said Hemisphere officials told him they planned to start construction this fall and should be completed by sometime in the spring.
"This is great news for the city," Reid said. "And there is still about 40 acres of land available."
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