Tuesday, June 16, 2009

'Even larger junkyard' proposed for Lower Price Hill?

In the June edition of the Lower Price Hill Community Council newsletter, council president Dr. Jack Degano said that the threat of an "even larger junkyard" has re-emerged in his community.

River Metals Recycling, a subsidiary of David J. Joseph Companies and the largest scrap processor in Greater Cincinnati and in Kentucky, has proposed using the 7.8 acres at 1951 State Avenue to accept and store ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal and junked cars for one to three weeks at a time.

But neighborhood resident Charlie Mattingly believes that River Metals has larger aspirations – and will require far more land.

"Shipping scrap metals to China is a boom industry," he said. "Other rapidly expanding economies, like South Korea, also seek scrap metal in quantities."

Mattingly said that there is adjacent and nearby acreage available that allow the company to build up its operations beyond what the neighborhood can control.

"River Metals is interested in buying the Mike Kaeser junkyard in LPH, with its entrance in South Fairmount," he said. "In particular, River Metals wants the acreage of the Petermann bus depot off State Avenue. Petermann's lease expired in May. We were told the school bus drivers operating out of there were fired, and the busses move elsewhere. That land has rail access, and is adjacent to Mill Creek, and thus, to the Ohio River."

Degano said that political operatives have prevented the junkyard issue from being discussed or voted on by council, and he has urged citizens to contact Cincinnati City Council, Hamilton County Commissioners, and Governor Ted Strickland to stop both the junkyard – and the Queensgate Terminals container-to-barge port proposed for River Road.

Lower Price Hill Community Council has voted against the proposal on several occasions, citing an over-concentration of industrial uses in the neighborhood, noise, and pollution as its chief concerns.

"The City of Cincinnati has launched war on two fronts," Degano says. "Lower Price Hill does not need a noisy, polluting 7.8 acre junkyard in the midst of homes on State Avenue and Ernst Street. Lower Price Hill does not need a noisy, polluting, taxpayer-funded China export operation on its riverfront that would operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is new hope in Lower Price Hill from ongoing positive developments."

Mattingly promised that his "small, mighty" neighborhood will fight to protect its families and homes.

"We fight back against injustice," he said. "We have an earned track record of what can be achieved when one smart Italian, a few organized Irish and German descendants, many more determined Appalachians, African-Americans, Hispanics and other nationalities, all pull together to right a wrong against us. The unifying fact is we are all proud Americans who choose to live in LPH."

Degano agreed.

"The Lower Price Hill Community Council, with the invaluable help of many residents – all volunteers – is devoting long hours to protecting the safety and health of people who live here, who work here, and who attend Lower Price Hill’s three schools," he said.

River Metals has yet to request permits for the project.

"junk cars" photo by Andrew Ciscel, courtesy of Flickr.

Previous reading on BC:
Health Department replies to LPH concerns about junkyard licensing (2/24/09)
Lower Price Hill seeks Cole's help in stopping junkyard (2/17/09)
River Metals to apply for junkyard use (11/13/08)
Lower Price Hill fighting proposed junkyard (10/9/08)