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Photo submitted Employees of the former Ohio Leathworks in Girard work inside the factory. The photo is one of those exhibited at the Girard Free Library.

GIRARD – The free Girard Library showcases the history of Ohio Leatherworks with an exhibit of drawings, photographs and memorabilia from the former local company.

Library director Pam Saganich, who became director in June 2021 after Rose Ann Lubert retired, said the library works with organizations and groups, including the city.

Saganich said that while the city was revitalizing the Ohio Leatherworks property, in conjunction with Akron’s Brownfield Restoration Group LLC and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Mayor Jim Melfi asked if public project documents could be released. available at the library.

She said the city will hold a public meeting in the future about the project — but any information about the project and the history of Ohio Leatherworks can be found at the library.

“All the project documents are here if anyone wants to see them. We decided that our display cases at the entrance would show historic photos of the Ohio Leatherworks and also drawings of the park that the city would like to have there,” said Saganich.

The display includes some of the leather products made at Ohio Leatherworks.

WHAT HAPPENS

“What better place than the public library to showcase the history of Ohio Leatherworks and what the city is planning there. The library is the ideal place for information on the upcoming project. Melfi said.

City officials have discussed a bike path and park on the property once it is cleared for walking, biking, and wetland and wildlife viewing areas.

Melfi said work at the site included the felling of trees. He said that floor remediation and cleaning will be done next. Two man-made earthen ponds on the property contain tannery products that need to be removed.

MAJOR EMPLOYER

The mayor said Ohio Leatherworks at one time employed hundreds of local residents.

Animal skins were tanned, dyed and soaked with chemicals to make them softer and supple. Only a few remnants of the factory remain, as well as piles of gravel and dirt.

“Quality leather products were made there. He was a big employer in the city. he said.

The former Leatherworks property near North State Street closed in 1969. Mefli said people had worked at Ohio Leatherworks since 1900.

Last year, Girard learned he would receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program to clean up factory grounds, including soil contaminated during the leather manufacturing process.

The grant will be used for cleanup as well as to support community outreach activities.

Melfi said the goal was to return the original 27 acres to public use.

Drawings on display at the library show a picnic area with a walking and cycling path and a bridge crossing the Mahoning River.



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