Warren County Port Authority seeks state grant for Middletown sports project

Warren County is moving forward on obtaining a state brownfield remediation grant for a proposed sports and entertainment venue at the Towne Mall location in Middletown.

The Warren County Port Authority is seeking a $1 million brownfield remediation grant through the Ohio Department of Development. The port authority has been designated as the lead organization for these grants by the Warren County commissioners.

Matt Schnipke, county economic development director, said if the county is awarded the grant, it would be 100% funded by the state.

In addition, he said the county will also be applying for a different state grant for demolition and remediation.

Martin Russell, deputy county administrator and Warren County Port Authority executive director, said all counties are eligible for both grant programs. He said the demolition and remediation grant is $500,000 and is also match free.

Last week, the county commissioners approved about $73,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding toward a feasibility and marketing study to determine the size and scope for a sports and entertainment venue at the Towne Mall, which is located near Interstate 75 in Middletown.

Russell said last week that one of the goals would be to bring a North American Hockey League Tier 2 junior hockey franchise as a tenant at the proposed sports and entertainment facility, Russell said.

“This is the first step of the project to size it right,” Russell said.

Community Center Partners was hired to do pre-development planning, evaluation, economic structuring and design effort on the proposal for a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, according to City Manager Jim Palenick.

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