Xenia to demolish abandoned brownfield property notorious for drug use

Site has been an eyesore for years, will likely be converted to parking for Xenia Station, Hub District.

The city of Xenia has acquired a nuisance brownfield site near Xenia Station in order to demolish it and turn it into a parking lot.

The property, located along the north side of the Little Miami Trail, just east of Xenia Station, has a history of blight, including rampant drug use, homeless camps and a suicide, per city documents.

The abandoned building is the site of the former Xenia Gas & Light Company, which has been vacant since 2004. Its official address is 249 Sycamore Street, at the end of a dead-end street.

Years of electric transformer and automotive-related storage from an abandoned DP&L sub-station and vehicle service garage on the site have resulted in extensive environmental pollution, according to city documents. The site has been host to a number of fires and various code violations in addition to being a popular place for drug exchanges, the city said.

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According to the purchase agreement with previous owners Anthony Collier and Walter Crum, Xenia will swap the site in exchange for a vacant city-owned parcel at 403 East Main Street. This allows the city to essentially acquire the property at no additional cost, while offloading a vacant parcel the city acquired through foreclosure and has no plans to use.

The Sycamore Street property is considered a brownfield, which is an abandoned or underused property, often an old industrial site, where possible lingering contamination is a barrier to redevelopment. The Ohio Department of Development’s Brownfield Remediation Program set aside $192 million in brownfield remediation grants at 112 sites in 41 counties earlier this year.

Xenia was awarded $629,354 for cleanup and demolition of the Sycamore Street property from the DOD, and the total estimated cost to remediate the property is around $850,000. The rest of the money will come from city funds.

Due to the environmental contamination, once the building is torn down and the ground is capped with asphalt, the property’s likely only viable future is as a parking lot. Those amenities would serve Xenia’s 118-acre Hub District and provide for future growth of Xenia Station, per city documents.

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