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Fact Sheet: Clean Ohio Fund

Ohio Environmental Council, March 26, 2013

The Clean Ohio Fund is a $400 million state bond initiative first approved by Ohio voters in 2000.

In 2008, it was overwhelmingly renewed in all 88 counties with strong bipartisan support from the executive and legislative leadership.

  • A public-private partnership, Clean Ohio restores, protects and connects Ohio’s natural and urban places by preserving open space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.
  • Four separate Clean Ohio programs run a competitive selection process so that Ohioans benefit from the very best projects:

Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund. Supports cleanup of brownfields for redevelopment; only public entities may apply.

Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Preserves farmland; local sponsors such as non-profit land trusts and soil and water conservation districts submit an application on the landowner’s behalf.

Clean Ohio Open Space Conservation Program. Preserves and restores open spaces, sensitive ecological areas and stream corridors; non-profit entities and local parks are eligible but not state agencies.

Clean Ohio Trails Fund. Improves outdoor recreational trail opportunities; any public subdivision or non-profit entity in Ohio may apply.

Benefits

  • Helps catalyze economic activity in Ohio by creating new jobs and retaining existing ones in construction, goods, services, recreation, eco-tourism, and high-tech industries.
  • Helps secure our agricultural base, one of Ohio’s top industries, by helping to preserve working family farms.
  • Helps keep Ohioans’ drinking water safe.
  • Protects Lake Erie and rivers and streams by creating natural buffers to help keep them clean.
  • Cleans and redevelops polluted abandoned industrial properties, protecting neighborhoods, and spurring redevelopment
  • Protects natural areas and develops miles of multi-use trails for public access.
  • Generates new tax revenues for schools and communities with redevelopmen project spin-offs across Ohio.
  • Leverages additional investments to create a total economic impact of approximately $2.6 billion to date.
  • Does not raise taxes – each $25 million in Clean Ohio Fund bonds requires $2.3 million in annual debt service.
  • Helps keep Ohio environmentally sound, economically viable, and poised for the future.

Accomplishments

All 88 Ohio counties have received funding and benefitted from the Clean Ohio Fund.

This critical state investment has:

  • Cleaned up nearly 400 abandoned, polluted sites.
  • Preserved over 26,000 acres of natural areas.
  • Protected over 39,748 acres of family farms.
  • Created over 216 miles of multi-purpose, recreational trails.
  • Leveraged additional investments to create a total economic impact ofapproximately $2.6 billion in public and private investments to date.

Recommendation

In spring 2013, appropriate the remaining $52 million in conservation bonds for the Clean Ohio Fund, as approved by voters in 2008.

The bonds would be allocated to open space conservation ($39 million), farmland preservation ($6.5 million) and multi-use trail construction ($6.5 million).

This request is supported by a broad coalition of representatives from business, hunting and fishing clubs, community development, local government, parks, land trusts and environmental groups.

NOTE: All brownfield redevelopment funds have been already spent or obligated.