Brownfields Conference Promotes Revitalization and Redevelopment

Written by Kathryn Ghion, Monongalia and Preston County Reporter/Weekend Anchor, WBOY on . Posted in Events, Media, News

The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers are teaching revitalization and redevelopment at their annual conference.

The Centers brought together more than 300 people for the three day conference and Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit on Thursday.

“As Morgantown and Monongalia County grow, there are a lot of sites that have been redeveloped,” said Patrick Kirby, Director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. We wanted to take people downtown, show them some neat things that are happening that are really exciting right now, but some have had to take environmental cleanup.”

Brownfields are any site that would be redeveloped, but there is either real or perceived contamination. The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers help to clean that up.

“There are big projects that we’ve all driven by that same site that looks to big to tackle,” said Kirby. “If they just do what they can in their community, they can reach out to us for assistance and they can tackle those problems.”

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Listen to NBAC Director Patrick Kirby Explain the BAD Buildings Program

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Media, News

Patrick Kirby, director of Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, explains how WVU helps cities and counties in the state deal with BAD buildings – Blighted, Abandoned and Dilapidated structures that degrade the quality of life in our communities. Gary Bowden interviews Kirby as part of his WAJR radio broadcast. Go to the podcast here (starts at 27:38).

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Making BAD Buildings Good Again: West Virginia communities display best efforts to tackle dilapidated building issues

Written by Darlene J. Swiger, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

Though West Virginia is known for its peaceful and serene country scenery, nestled in several of its mountains are communities fighting blighted and dilapidated structures that significantly damage that pristine image.

“Honestly, it’s been an issue for a long time,” said Luke Elser, project manager of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. “In West Virginia, it feels like a lot of communities and the citizens themselves have begun to address this by saying, ‘This problem needs to be solved, and we need to solve it as a community.’”

Elser feels optimistic West Virginia’s communities are moving in the right direction.

“There is rehab happening all over the state,” he said. “Each community is approaching it differently. The solutions that may work in Charleston might not work in the Northern Panhandle or other parts of the state.”

Broadening Spectrum

Previously, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center focused its efforts on brownfield sites that once housed commercial properties, abandoned glass factories and other environmental hazards. However, the center has since broadened the spectrum of blighted properties it services.“We’ve been working with these communities to look at revitalization of these dilapidated buildings, looking at residential and commercial properties in the dilapidated downtown areas,” Elser said. “We’re working on removing the worst, most dangerous structures, working to fix the ones that we don’t have to tear down, so that we get the vacant properties back to a productive use.”To do so, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center started a BAD (Blighted, Abandoned and Dilapidated) Buildings program.

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The Mon River: A Regional Recreational Asset

Written by Power of 32 Staff on . Posted in Media, News

Years ago the Mon River Valley was dotted with bustling communities filled with the soot and fire of the coal and coke era. Today, the residents of the towns along the Monongahela River are looking at that water corridor with new eyes. River towns are offering residents and visitors access to this waterway for outdoor recreation and launching businesses that support the emerging river recreation.

Leading the effort is the Mon River Valley Coalition (MRVC), an outgrowth of the River Town Program, launched in 2011 by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to help communities recognize the river as an asset for community and economic development.

The MRVC got started when a group of civic and municipal leaders from Mon River communities graduated from the three-year River Town Program and wanted to continue working together. The Coalition was launched in 2013 and is now led by National Road Heritage Corridor director, Donna Holdorf, and River Town Program director, Cathy McCollom. Twenty communities bordering the Monongahela River now participate.

According to Cathy McCollom, it’s the collaborative spirit of the people and organizations involved that have made the difference. “These are small towns and small communities,” she says, “but working together, they keep growing.”

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