WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — In 2012, there was mold, open elevator shafts, a leaking roof and 10 feet of water in the basement of the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital in Warren.
Thieves also were stripping the building. Two years later, the hospital continues to deteriorate.
“This is the nightmare on Tod Avenue and it’s dangerous. And God forbid we have children go in there,” Warren 2nd Ward Councilman Al Novak said.
Even though all the entrances have been boarded up, vandals and scrappers keep coming into the building and stealing whatever they can.
But now there is hope the property soon could be cleaned up. Novak said Wednesday that city health officials confirmed asbestos assessment will be conducted inside the building next week.
Health officials then will test to see what other contaminants are inside.
Novak said he is glad to see something is finally starting to happen at the site.
The asbestos assessment could open the door for federal and state brownfield money.
“There is very little money out there for the cleanup and if you are going to take a property and put it back into productive use, then you need to have some help with the cleanup,” Trumbull County Planning Commission Executive Director Trish Nuskievicz said.
The former hospital would be added to the 60 sites identified as a brownfield by the Trumbull County Brownfield Coalition. Six sites already are being assessed, including the Wean Building in downtown Warren.
First Ward Councilman Larry Larson said tearing the building down is the first step to revitalizing the neighborhood.
“We have a few problems here, a few problems there, but it is worth protecting. It is worth preserving. It is worth improving,” Larson said. “It would be so much better for the neighborhood for this building to be taken down. As a dreamer, I would love to see something developed there, but as a realist, the hospital has to come down.”
The cost to remediate the property could run into the millions of dollars.