When the former Caraustar-Rittman Paperboard facility was operating at its peak, the plant was home to more than 1,200 local employees. Its closing in 2006 resulted in the loss of these jobs and left behind 300-acres of vacant real estate in the industrial core of Rittman, Ohio. 

The City of Rittman (Wayne County, Ohio) now has 80 acres of prime industrial property ready for a new end user and a new 205-acre public park that will be open to visitors next year. The redevelopment of the former Caraustar-Rittman Paperboard manufacturing facility is a monumental accomplishment achieved through an ambitious public-private partnership and state funding.

This large and complicated project involved close coordination with the City of Rittman, Wayne County, JobsOhio, Team NEO, Ohio EPA, Ohio Public Works Commission, Wayne County Health Department, and the Ohio Department of Transportation. Funding assistance, a critical factor to this project’s success, was provided through a $2 million JobsOhio Revitalization Program grant and a $2.5 million Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant.

Redevelopment and revitalization of the former Caraustar-Rittman Paperboard facility is a classic example of how a public-private partnership can provide a solution for a civic problem. Preparing this property for new industrial and commercial development is needed for the economic viability of the community. Preparing the remaining property considered less desirable from a development perspective into public open space will preserve important habitat while offering health, wellness, and educational benefits for local residents and visitors for generations to come.

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