By GLORIA PLEVA KACIK
City officials have made some headway in their three-pronged process to revive the corner of State and Royalton Road. Clean up, clear title and redevelop. The old Clark station at that corner has finally been demolished, according to North Royalton Community Development Director Tom Jordan. “One company removed the gas tanks on the property, starting on December 20 and finishing up just before Christmas,” said Jordan. “The other company tore down the building on December 27. It’s not entirely down, though. We are waiting for soil samples to come back before the foundation is removed.” Once those are removed, the land will be leveled and seeded for spring.
The old Clark station at 14030 State Road, located on less than one acre on the southwest corner of State Road and Rt. 82 has been sitting vacant since 2007. That piece of real estate is one of the most visible pieces of real estate, sitting right in the center of the city’s Town Center District. The city has been trying to contact the property owners in an effort to clean up the property, which has become an eyesore.
The property has been used as a gas station for more than forty years, and was owned by Millennium Property Holdings, a company with more than thirty independent gas stations in the area. That firm went bankrupt more than five years ago. According to Jordan, “the bank tried to foreclose on the unpaid balance, but the bank went out of business. A second bank took over, and realized it wasn’t worth it and stopped foreclosure proceedings. They then had a lien holder, but they have stopped foreclosure proceedings.” City officials asked the county to intervene and force the lien holder to remedy the situation and planned to follow the nuisance process.
The Cuyahoga County Land Bank has taken over the project and is working with the city to remedy the problem. They hired the environmental consultant firm, Mannik Smith Group, to complete Phase 1 of the project, which involved compiling a history on the property and conducting an environmental study. The aim is to see if the site has been contaminated by the underground tanks that have been placed there by the gas stations that utilized the property. Phase 1 has been completed, said Jordan, who received the final report on April 29. Phase 2 then took place, drilling test wells to see if there is any leakage from the tanks and to then properly remove them and raze the structure.
Jordan said that the city continues to seek a clean title to the property. Stefanik noted that “there was an incredible amount of red tape, but persistence paid. Now that the work is done and there’s some value, that should speed up the process. We abated a major problem.” At that point, the property will be available for redevelopment. “It’s the city’s goal to redevelop this property.”