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Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in Uncategorized

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center (NBAC) at West Virginia University (WVU), partnered with InnerAction Media (IAM) in 2019 to produce two videos that showcase Morgantown, Fairmont, Star City and the surrounding areas along the Monongahela River.

The Monongahela River, known locally as the Mon, is 130 miles and runs from North Central West Virginia to southwestern Pennsylvania. “The Mon River is a really great ecological and recreational asset with the potential to be the place where people look forward to visiting in their free time. Although the Mon Riverfront was originally developed to serve the area’s glass and coal industries, many of these facilities have been repurposed for human enjoyment.  We want people to know that now they can come down to the river and eat, drink, shop, run, bike, paddle, fish, or whatever it is that adds quality to your life, because the Mon River is a place to come and play!” said Anna Withrow, Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist. “Our first goal was to educate the community on this vast resource sitting in their backyard; our second goal was to make outside visitors aware of what our Mon River Towns have to offer.”

From kayaking and biking, eating good food and drinking thirst-quenching craft beers, to spending quality time with the family at an outdoor community event featuring live concerts, there are many ways to prove that the river is not only safe but fun for all ages. 

Communities along the Upper Monongahela River in Northern West Virginia share an incredible asset.  These communities were developed around the turn of the 20th Century to take advantage of the waterway to support local coal, glass, and other industries which declined by the end of the Century.  With the loss of many of the industries that helped grow the communities along the river, vacant industrial structures took root.  Using the industrial legacy sites as an opportunity, stakeholder groups within each community are working to redevelop the Monongahela Riverfront to support local economic, recreational, and ecological opportunities for the 21st century.  

The Mon River Towns Program supports the efforts of existing stakeholder groups to revitalize riverfront properties with the goal of reusing abandoned industrial properties to preserve local industrial legacies through redevelopment that creates a healthier environment and supports a more stable economy.  Recognizing the advantage that the Mon River provides for commercial development, recreational trails, community sense of place, and local industries; the Mon River Towns Program promotes riverfront redevelopment that supports a variety of uses as diverse as the surrounding community, with improved physical and visual access points to the water. The NBAC received funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in the summer of 2018 to continue and expand the Mon River Towns Program in Fairmont, Morgantown, and Star City, West Virginia, offering community-specific and regional resources for riverfront revitalization.

The promotional videos will be used to bring attention to the many activities, restaurants and outdoor happenings for people to enjoy along the Mon. The companies and institutions worked together, spending months and many hours on editing footage, including the use of a drone to film aerial views.

“The Mon River is so under-appreciated and underutilized. During production, I felt inspired to get out and do more on the river. Talking with people, setting up video shoots and getting out there to see what people are doing made me realize how much the river and surrounding area truly has to offer and how easy it is to access. I hope watching the video has the same effect on viewers,” said Liza Heiskell, IAM Video Producer.

View the videos and learn more about the Mon River.

Save the Tygart Issues RFQ for Cleanup at Carr China

Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in Uncategorized

Save the Tygart Watershed Association, Inc., is seeking qualifications for a LICENSED REMEDIATION SPECIALIST to enroll the Carr China Property through the West Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program and provide plans, specifications, and contract documents for the site’s cleanup and development. Complete Request details are available at the Save the Tygart website, or by contacting Dr. Kelley Flaherty at

Proposals will be evaluated upon the following criteria:

  • Technical competence;
  • Experience with risk management on metals and hydrocarbons contaminated sites;
  • Experience with Brownfield redevelopment of recreational sites ;
  • Experience with the West Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program;
  • Experience with carrying out EPA Brownfields program projects;
  • Clarity of communication in submitted materials;
  • Availability to work in the timeline provided.

Attention is directed to the fact that the proposed project is to be undertaken through various state and federal government grants (including a USEPA Brownfields Grant) and loans, and that all work shall be performed in accordance with the regulations issued by those agencies.

STTWA is not obligated to enter into a contract based on any proposal submitted in response to this document.

Upshur County Releases RFQ for Cleanup Project

Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in Uncategorized

The Upshur County Commission received an EPA Cleanup Grant for remediation activities at the Upshur County Youth Camp Tar Pit. As part of this cleanup project, the Upshur County Commission will retain an environmental or engineering firm to provide professional and technical services necessary to undertake remediation planning activities. The activities include producing plans and specifications for bidding for remediation services necessary for the completion of the Upshur County Youth Camp Tar Pit EPA Brownfields Cleanup Project. The firm will also be retained to provide environmental management and oversight of the site cleanup activities, including serving as the Licensed Remediation Specialist (LRS) of record to navigate the site through the West Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP). Finally, the firm will also hold responsibility for regular reporting to EPA Region 3, as required in the cooperative agreement. The Upshur County Youth Camp Tar Pit (the Tar Pit) is a half-acre of land situated on the western shore of the Buckhannon River in Selbyville, West Virginia that is part of the Upshur County Youth Camp Property.

For more information on the project and the RFQ process, download the RFQ here.

The deadline for the RFQ is February 28.

Embracing the Future, Letting Go of the Past

Written by Stacy Raffo on . Posted in Uncategorized

Highlighting New Opportunities in Richwood

The future was vividly on display last Thursday when the Developer’s Tour swung through Richwood. The Milltown Community Economic Development Group, in conjunction with Downtown Appalachia, hosted the event. The purpose of the tour is to bring together public and private funding entities with local current and potential business owners.

The tour began with a reception at the charming art gallery of Carma and Kevin Lawrenson in a restored historic building.   Stacy Raffo, Executive Director of the Mill Town organization and other state and local business leaders addressed the group on exciting opportunities for economic growth.  Jeromy Rose, a Richwood leader, talked about the surge in civic energy since the 2016 flood.  “We are on the cusp of a new decade,” he said as he recounted all the times throughout Richwood’s history when the town roared back stronger than ever after disasters like floods and fires.

California transplant Chuck Tousseing addressed the crowd of nearly 50 on the potential for Richwood to become a small-scale Silicon Valley. “‘Silicon Holler’ is real,” he said, as he explained how his non-profit Richwood Scientific has already trained close to 100 coders.  “I don’t just want this to be a tourist town where people visit,” he said, “I want it to be a place where people come to live.”   Tousseing has already hired several of his trainees and he hopes to attract more of his contacts in California who might enjoy the high speed broadband and unique lifestyle Richwood offers.

There was a lot of talk about the future of trails and biking.  Ray Moeller of the New River Gorge Regional Development Association shared ideas of how a town can capitalize on bikers, cyclists and ATV riders. “You’ve already passed an ordinance in Richwood to allow ATVs in town. ” He and others threw out ideas of how Richwood could build a niche economy around the needs of these kinds of tourists.  He mentioned the thriving local eateries and the Whistle Punk Grill & Taproom which will open in the spring in a 1920’s building on Main Street.

David Kahley and Eric Neice, are fund managers from the Pennsylvania, they invest exclusively in small trail towns in a three state region. Called The Progress Fund, Kahley’s company has a successful history in small town businesses they’ve funded like pubs, taverns, cafes, bike shops, river outfitters, pottery shops, B&Bs, cabins and campgrounds, wineries, hostels, distilleries, microbreweries, artisan cheese shops and more.  “We’ve funded over $60 million in small business projects, ” Kahley explained, “and we have a 2% failure rate.”  Much of their success comes from the way they assist new business owners with both money and support.

Former resident David Ward sees the AIR BNB movement as something Richwood could profit from, he traveled from Miami for the event.  “I am seriously thinking of moving back here and working from home. With the low cost of living, amazing broadband and outdoor recreation this place is like a secret paradise.”

After touring several buildings in town and learning about more potential projects and opportunities the tour ended up back at the corner of Main and Oakford for a reception.  Better things are coming and Richwood is ready to embrace the future.  As Jeromy Rose so aptly put it, “The good ole days are ahead of us.”