Economic Development

City Seeks EPA Help for Masters Tuxedo Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct testing at the site of the former Masters Tuxedo building, which was destroyed by a fire that started April 30.

On Tuesday, the city’s Board of Control approved an agreement granting U.S. EPA access to the property at 3600 Market St. Prior to the fire, a city consultant had conducted a Phase I environmental assessment at the site using funding from a $200,000 brownfield assessment grant that the city received in 2017 for environmental studies of former gas stations and car dealerships, as well as adjacent properties.

The Masters building was near a former gas station site on Market Street and qualified for study under the grant.

The Phase II assessment, conducted after the fire, determined that only contaminants from dry-cleaning chemicals were present on the site, triggering “some additional testing that’s required” that went beyond the scope of the brownfield grant, said T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development.

Fire crews had the blaze at Masters Tuxedo under control by 4 a.m. Wednesday, May 1.

“The grant that we have does not cover the additional testing because it’s not related to petroleum,” Woodberry said. “Because that funding is not eligible to be used for the nature of this, we had to seek assistance from U.S. EPA for the additional scope of work.”

Through additional testing, EPA will help determine the extent of the chemicals that are there and what further steps might need to be taken. EPA will be on-site later this month to perform both in-ground and air quality testing at the site, she reported. The agency did not provide a timeline for when its assessment would be complete.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, chairman of the Board of Control, said for now he would like to see the lot “green and clean” like similar lots on Market Street. “That sets the tone for a nice, green consistency with the rest of what’s going on on Market Street,” he remarked.

The city has received inquiries regarding the site, which the city owns. “We need to find the right end user, a project that we feel is an enhancement to the corridor [and] someone who has the funding to move forward with the project,” Woodberry said.

Pictured above: Youngstown Board of Control granted U.S. EPA access to the site at 3600 Market St.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.