Kokosing Asphalt neighbor Carl Gaglione puts campaign in perspective for Ohio Citizen Action field staff on their way to canvassing Garfield Heights

Carl Gaglione, Nora Lardner, Carla Roth, and Nina Byard outside the back entrance to Kokosing Asphalt

MAPLE HEIGHTS — On their way to canvassing Garfield Heights for the first time in five years, the Ohio Citizen Action field staff made a quick stop into neighboring Maple Heights to talk to Kokosing Asphalt neighbor Carl Gaglione. The canvassers got a firsthand perspective of the facility that has been causing pollution problems for Gaglione and his neighbors for years.

In March 2010 Citizen Action joined Gaglione and other neighbors in a good neighbor campaign to get Kokosing to reduce pollution at its asphalt facility north of Granger and south of I-480 on the Maple Heights/Garfield Heights border. Kokosing admits to polluting the neighborhood with toxic chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, organic compounds, and soot. Sulfur dioxide can make it harder to breathe, aggravate asthma, and contribute to acid rain. Soot can cause heart and lung damage and aggravate asthma.

Until 2007, the Kokosing plant was owned by locally-based Schloss Materials, Inc. Then Kokosing, headquartered in Fredericktown, Ohio, bought the plant. According to Gaglione, life in the neighborhood hasn’t been the same since. “The plant has gotten a lot worse since Kokosing took over. It wasn’t perfect or anything like that when Schloss owned it, but it was a lot better. They seemed to care a lot more about their neighbors.”

Stephen Gabor, Cleveland Area Campaign Director, Ohio Citizen Action