TIFFIN - The city of Tiffin has been awarded $750,000 from the state's Clean Ohio Assistance Fund for soil remediation and demolition at the former Tiffin Glasshouse Co., removing the last physical reminder of the city's glass heritage.
The old buildings in the northwest part of the city will be demolished to prepare the property for the expansion of Tiffin Paper Co.
The four-acre site had been used for the manufacture of stemware and decorative glass starting in 1889, when A.J. Beatty & Sons moved its operations there from Steubenville, Ohio.
The funding will be used for the remediation of polluted soil and the removal of dilapidated structures that will allow Tiffin Paper, which borders the property on the north, to expand onto the site.
Despite a reputation for quality, the firm struggled financially. Beginning in 1958, it went through a series of name changes and sales to investment firms and other tableware manufacturers.
The Tiffin Glass Museum, which opened in 1998 through the efforts of collectors, has kept alive the company's history.
"On May 19, 1979, the factory was sold for the last time to Towle Silversmiths and operated as Tiffin Crystal, a division of Towle Silversmiths. The furnaces were shut down on May 1, 1980, the date considered by collectors to be the end of the Tiffin Glass Company," the museum's Web site notes.
Donna Overholt, a volunteer at the museum, said most of the brick buildings have been torn down, but collectors continued to be drawn to the site to search for shards.
"They'd be looking for pieces of a stem. What you'd get out it were the colors," she said.
Tiffin Mayor Bernard Hohman said the remedial project has been in the works for two years, with the city applying some of its Community Block Grant Funds toward the cleanup.
The building is in an area with people of low to moderate incomes, which helps qualify it for state funds, the mayor said.
Tiffin Paper is a wholesale distributor of paper and concession food products. It plans to build a 37,000-square-foot addition and add 25 to 30 jobs, according to the Ohio Department of Development, which awarded the funds from its $10 million Clean Ohio Assistance Fund.
The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., will sell the property to Tiffin Paper for $70,000, said Richard Focht, the agency's president and chief executive officer.
Mr. Focht said that is the price the economic development agency paid for the land several years ago. When the company folded in 1984, the firm gave the site to the agency for $1 in exchange for a tax write-off.
The agency later sold the land but bought it back several years ago to be able to control it for a future cleanup, he said. "When the business went under, there wasn't much that could be done with the property," he said.