Monday, July 12, 2010

Cincinnati, Blue Ash await CORF, FAA funds for airport

Cincinnati City Council has voted to apply for a grant of up to $1.2 million through the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF) to remediate contaminated soil on a portion of the Blue Ash Airport.

Work is expected to begin within the next year to clean up lead contamination and remove two underground storage tanks on 7.5 acres of the 130-acre site near Plainfield and Glendale-Milford roads, which the City sold to the City of Blue Ash in August 2007. Environmental remediation was a condition of the sale.

In the meantime, Blue Ash has begun preliminary planning and design on a new "central park" for the site, which could include a performing arts and conference center, pedestrian mall, walking trails, and golf course.

But that design work is being held up while Cincinnati awaits word from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a $10 million grant that would allow it to reconfigure airport operations onto the site's remaining 98 acres.

In February, council voted to extend the deadline for completing the airport sale by one year to August 2011, and could vote to extend it another year until the FAA funding comes through.

Blue Ash has pledged $2 million in matching funds.

If the FAA grant fails to come through, Cincinnati could choose to close the airport or offer it for sale, and Blue Ash would retain the right to match any offer for the 98 acres.

The CORF application deadline is July 27.

If Cincinnati receives the CORF funding, a 25 percent local match will come from proceeds from the airport's sale.

Previous reading on BC:
Construction on Blue Ash's 'central park' unlikely until 2012-2013 (12/8/09)
Blue Ash Airport cleanup a go (10/29/08)
Cincinnati to create account for Blue Ash Airport cleanup (10/22/08)