Company Could Pay for Demolition of East Liverpool’s ‘Car Barn’

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The company that operates a hazardous waste incinerator in the East End may pay to demolish the “Car Barn,” where the city houses its street, refuse and recycling operations.

The building has fallen into disrepair.

During a recent streets and buildings committee meeting, members voted to forward an ordinance for City Council’s review that would authorize Mayor Greg Bricker to enter into negotiations with Heritage Thermal Services for the demolition.

City Council’s finance committee reviewed the ordinance at a meeting Tuesday afternoon, also forwarding it for council’s consideration at its regular meeting next Monday.

According to finance committee Chairman Fred Rayl, funds that Heritage Thermal Services was required to earmark for an environmental project could be used for the demolition.

The company, which operates the hazardous waste incinerator on St. George Street, previously had reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after emissions from the incinerator resulted in a notice of violations.

The end result, announced at a joint meeting in November 2018, was a $288,000 penalty for Heritage Thermal as well as the environmental project, requiring the company to set aside $302,500 toward replacement of lead-lined water pipes for East Liverpool residents who could otherwise not afford such replacements in their homes.

According to Rayl, in place of the lead pipe replacement project, Bricker had negotiated with Heritage Thermal for the funds to be used for demolition of houses in the city. But only a couple people came forward to have houses razed, leading him to consider the Car Barn demolition project. 

Rayl said that if council approves the ordinance, it will be forwarded for the Environmental Protection Agency’s consideration, saying the plan hinges on whether or not that agency approves using the funds for the demolition plan.

The building, located at 1253 Pennsylvania Ave., was originally used from 1909 as a streetcar barn until the last streetcar returned to the barn on July 10, 1939, when buses became the area’s favored mode of transportation. Buses were then repaired in the building until the 1950s.

The structure deteriorated over the years, and past administrations have discussed the need to either repair or raze it.

The building’s roof is nonexistent in some spots.

Linda Ziegler, a former City Council member, applied for a federal transportation enhancement grant in 2011 in hopes of renovating the building, but it was denied, and City Council at the time decided not to reapply.

Plans have also been discussed over the years to relocate the equipment and workers to another site, removing them from what is considered an unhealthy environment, but those plans have not come to fruition.

Rayl said “it’s a blessing” that money may now be made available from Heritage Thermal for remediation of any asbestos from the building, as well as demolition.

If the Car Barn is demolished, the city hopes to offer the property for future development, according to Rayl.

The city has already entered into an agreement to purchase a building down the street to replace the Car Barn, and Rayl said the loan for that purchase has been received, but it’s still somewhat in limbo since the property is tied up in probate.

Rayl said he did not support an initial lease deal proposed by the owner but does support purchasing the property, saying, “When I first saw it, I felt it was a perfect setup for what the street department needs.”

Heritage Thermal spokesman Raymond Wayne did not return a call to comment.

Pictured at top: The “Car Barn” in East Liverpool, where the city houses its street, refuse and recycling operations.

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