If the saying "it's what's on the inside that counts" holds any merit, development at the former Fostoria Glass Factory in Moundsville is on the right track.
The exterior of the structure looks the same as when demolition ceased last year due to the discovery of asbestos. However, City Manager Allen Hendershot said there is much activity taking place between the walls of the factory that once employed nearly 1,000 people.
"Work is continuing on the cleanup and abatement of a cross-contaminated area in the facility that was caused by a building collapse," Hendershot said. "The developers are working with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on this phase of the project."
At a November Moundsville City Council meeting, Hendershot advised council that abatement work at the site had resumed in the factory interior and must be completed before demolition can resume.
At the same time, council also approved a resolution to allow the city to file a Brownfield Cleanup Grant application with the DEP. The grant would provide $180,000 for abatement at the site. As part of the grant, the city would then provide $20,000.
Hendershot said the grant application has been submitted to the DEP, but it will not be approved until early next year. In addition to grants, the project has been funded through a joint effort of the city and the Moundsville Economic Development Council. The majority of the money is coming from material that has been salvaged from the structure.
Hendershot maintained that while passersby may not notice the abatement work from the outside, there is plenty going on inside.
Site developer Harold Games said the initial work includes removal of materials that are currently on the ground due to the collapse, causing contamination from roofing material and insulation. He said once this is completed, any asbestos in standing buildings will be removed, then those buildings will be razed.
The Fostoria Glass Co. began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, on Dec. 15, 1887, because the area was rich with cheap natural gas. However, the supply soon ran low, causing Fostoria to move in 1891 to Moundsville, where there was an abundance of gas, coal and other necessary glass-making materials.
In 1983, Lancaster Colony purchased the company but closed it for good in 1986.
The city bought the site several years ago with the intention of again making it a viable and productive part of the community. Soon after the purchase, officials entered into a contract with Games to demolish the former factory and develop the site for retail. Demolition crews then began tearing down the factory. However, asbestos was discovered in five sections of the factory early last year, and demolition ceased while abatement commenced. When the city's contract with Games ended last December, so did the abatement, which did not resume until after the contract with Games, and his new company, GAB Enterprises, was signed in August.
GAB Enterprises is a company Games formed along with Lewis Aulenbaucher and Tom Brown of Raze International, a firm that specializes in industrial and commercial development.