The Columbus City Council unanimously approved tax increment financing for the clean-up of contaminated land at 2nd and Lafayette streets. That is quite a change from last month, when three members were for the proposal, three wanted to pass it on to the next council and one was undecided.
A number of new factors were brought to the council‘s attention. First, the contaminants from the site seem to be slowly spreading out. Second, the council learned the state wanted the site cleaned up and was capable of forcing the city to pay for it, whether the council approved it or not.
Third, the council learned that previous site owners, including Miller and Company, as well as Columbus Downtown, Inc. can be held accountable for a good portion of the cleanup costs. The loan the city has secured for the cleanup will also have zero interest.
But the number one factor that seemed to change their minds was when the Redevelopment Commission president told them it is irrelevant whether or not an indoor sports complex is built on the site. Rich Stenner said its a contaminated site and a public health risk that has to be cleaned up.