We’ve had so many factories shut down in the US over the past few decades that we just didn’t know what to do with them. Well, now someone does. President Obama was in Youngstown, Ohio yesterday at the V&M Star — a tubular production facility — to announce his plan to fund the repurposing of abandoned GM factories into new and useful buildings. The fund will be $800 million dollars strong and it will go towards cleaning up environmental hazards in abandoned factories. The communities will be able to choose what the factories should become — whether it be office buildings, community or green space or just new factories!

president obama, gm, general motors, repurpose, recycle, old factory, community service, stimulus plan, environment, cleanup, youngstown, ohio

The President told the crowd gathered, “today my administration is announcing a landmark agreement to help dozens of communities like Youngstown revitalize and redevelop old, shuttered GM facilities, preparing them for new industries, new jobs, and new opportunity.” The administration is planning to use cash that was originally allocated as part of GM’s bailout money to repurpose the old facilities. Though the administration just announced the funding yesterday, officials noted that it had been in the cards all along. This $800 million is part of the money loaned to GM by the government, which they are currently paying back.

They are hoping to use these old buildings — that eventually became rundown eyesores over years of disuse — to create new hope in communities that have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. With this environmental cleanup and re-use program communities will once again be able to call these structures positive parts of their towns and cities. The communities in which the buildings stand will be able to dictate what happens to them. Officials say that they could even become part of the green economy by repurposing the buildings into manufacturing facilities for new renewable energy technology. The fund will include $536 million for cleanup and $300 million for demolition, property taxes and restructuring fees for 90 GM sites in 14 states.

+ Read the President’s Speech