Thanks to our Kirtland lobbyists for this article from Cleveland.com
MENTOR, Ohio – The estate of the late developer Jerome Osborne will remit $10.6 million to pay for the cleanup and restoration of a nine-acre site adjacent to the Mentor Marsh, under the terms of a tentative settlement of a five-year-old lawsuit brought by the Ohio EPA.
The lawsuit accuses Osborne’s companies of devastating the preserve by polluting it with salt runoff for the past 50 years. The clean-up project is expected to take about five years.
“We think it’s a great way to start the new year,” said EPA Director Craig Butler on Wednesday. “It required some very creative thinking for an out-of-the-box solution to a very complicated problem.”
The Ohio EPA filed the lawsuit in 2013, roughly 50 years after Osborne Concrete and Stone sent salt pollution pouring into Blackbrook Creek, poisoning the pristine marsh and destroying trees, vegetation, fish and animals in the 691-acre Mentor Marsh preserve.
By the early 1970s, the marsh was choked by 15-foot-tall reed grass called phragmites, an invasive, salt-tolerant plant that formed an impenetrable wall of vegetation across the 4-mile-long marsh basin, and which periodically caught fire, threatening nearby neighborhoods.
Under terms of the proposed settlement agreement, Osborne Concrete and Stone, a family trust, and Lakeshore Boulevard Properties, which is owned by the trust and has title to the property, will pay to remove hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of polluted soil from the acreage adjacent to the marsh. The defendants also will be required to eliminate ongoing pollution to the marsh, the Grand River, Blackbrook Creek and Lake Erie.