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Huron rocks: Living in the stone age

Andy Ouriel • Apr 28, 2014 at 9:11 AM

This deal just rocks for Huron taxpayers, city officials and others impressed by the community’s aggressive development efforts.

After demolishing the former ConAgra building more than two years ago, city officials parlayed about 48,000 tons of industrial stone — valued at about $800,000 — for several public improvements.

Watch video of the 2012 demolition in the player below

In other words, the city leveraged close to $800,000 in free resources after officials paid to process this material. Officials then repurposed the stone to strengthen many area assets.

So far the stone’s gone toward improving area shorelines, bolstering walkways and even creating a bike path — all at no cost to local taxpayers. Soon it will go toward upgrading other properties, including the former Show Boat Restaurant property on North Main Street.

“That’s money we won’t have to spend,” Huron city manager Andy White said. “The main benefit is the city won’t have to provide any extra costs for various projects”

Rockin’ out

In total, the former ConAgra property produced about 48,000 tons of stone.

Huron officials acquired the stone when they took sole ownership of this 20-acre property.

The ConAgra property became available for purchase in 2006, when company executives decided to leave Huron. The plant opened around 1937.

City officials wanted to purchase the prime waterfront site, but with an annual budget of about $4 million, they simply couldn’t afford it.

So they looked elsewhere. They pitched a development proposal to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and whatever they said worked.

Within months, the state provided Huron with grants totaling $8.3 million and allowed the city to make this property public for the first time in several decades.

The money broke down with:

•$3.2 million to acquire the 20 acres.

•$3.1 million to construct a 10-acre boat launch, which occupies about half the space.

•$2 million to demolish ConAgra. Huron officials used most of the 48,000 tons of stone to establish an embankment around the property’s perimeter after implosion.

Crews also built a 600-foot walking path with the stone. At no cost, officials also donated stone to some area contractors. “We’re continuing to be as efficient as possible and look at every way possible to save money for the taxpayers and the constituents” Huron councilman Trey Hardy said. “We found a way where we can use leftover, existing stone to help out in some other areas”


The former ConAgra site represents a centerpiece to Huron’s revitalization.

In July 2012, city officials unveiled an aggressive plan to reshape the city by 2020. The $9 million undertaking aims to lure businesses while also persuading people to move to the city.

The plan also calls for linking several city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on highlighting waterfront features.

Meanwhile, Huron officials are still contemplating how to market the former ConAgra site. Some ideas tossed around include morphing the space into a commercial district, a business park, residential properties or a hybrid of the three.

But no matter what goes in there, the property will remain a public space.

“We want to preserve waterfront access and work with whoever wants to come in and do some development so we can secure some financial or economic benefits” Huron councilman Brad Hartung said.

Where’s the stone going?

Huron officials acquired 48,000 tons of stone, with a market value of about $800,000, after they imploded the former ConAgra facility a little more than two years ago.

More than half of the 48,000 tons of stone established an embankment around ConAgra’s perimeter. Crews also built a 600-foot walking path with the stone.

In the past year, officials also used the stone for various other purposes, including:

•Improving the parking lot at Fabens Park.

•Helping to create a 1.25-mile-long bike and walking path running parallel to U.S. 6 and connecting Huron High School and Woodlands Intermediate School.

•Bolstering the North Main Pier on North Main Street.

Today, the remaining amount of stone totals about 9,000 tons, valued at $54,000. Officials reserved most of the remaining stone for the former Show Boat Restaurant property on North Main Street by the pier. The work involves stabilizing a deteriorated shore wall. The leftover stone will go toward improving area infrastructure.

Source: Huron city manager’s office

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