Shinnston Council moves forward with BAD buildings program

Written by Kirsten Reneau, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

SHINNSTON — The city of Shinnston plans to take down another building on Pike Street as part of their BAD buildings program.

The BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated) buildings is a program the city has been working on with help from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center through West Virginia University.

City Council members unanimously granted their attorney, Trey Simmerman, permission to pursue legal action against the owner of a building that could be dangerous, Vice Mayor Pat Kovalck said, which took place at Monday’s meeting.

“We granted permission to pursue that because letters have not been returned, phone calls have not been returned, so we thought that we needed to go a different route and get this building taken care of,” Kovalck said.

Kovalck said that having this building is not only dangerous, but unfair to other residents of the area.

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Community Members Meet in Lost Creek to Discuss Rail Trail Project

Written by Austin Weiford, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

LOST CREEK — The first in a series of community meetings on the future of Harrison County’s rail trails took place at the Lost Creek Community Building Tuesday evening.

The meeting, which was hosted by Harrison Rail Trails in cooperation with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, entailed discussion and feedback among community members interested in connecting trail sections throughout the county.

After informational presentations from Anna Withrow, a Brownfield redevelopment specialist; Kent Spellman, a representative for the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition; and Diana Druga, president of Harrison Rail Trails, attendees formed groups to discuss assets of the trail section to the south of Lost Creek, as well as challenges in restoring that section and possible solutions.

Of particular note was a trestle bridge that is in need of repair or replacement.

The information gathered will be used to create a trail development plan later this year.

“I think the meeting went great,” Withrow said. “We got good feedback on general things. There are still some more details that need to be followed up on, but we have a good start.”

Withrow said development of the trail south of Lost Creek would present various challenges.

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Harrison Rail Trail to host meetings around the county to discuss completing trail system

Written by Austin Weiford, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

CLARKSBURG — Harrison Rail Trails, in cooperation with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, is hosting a series of community meetings around Harrison County to discuss the future of the local trail system. The meetings are a follow up to others that were held in the fall.

Anna Withrow, Brownfield redevelopment specialist, said the center is working on a connectivity plan to help bridge the gaps in the current system and connect the trails in the county with other trails that run throughout the state and beyond.

“We want to get feedback and participation from the community at these meetings,” Withrow said. “During our site recon in some of the gaps that we want to fill, there were several no trespassing signs posted by private property owners who now own the land that the trail runs through. We haven’t started any conversations, but we do anticipate some challenges there. So we want to try and open a dialogue with the community and see what steps we might be able to take to work with citizens and close these gaps.”

Harrison Rail Trails, a non-profit organization, is a member of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, or I ‘Heart’ Trails, which is a regional trail project intended to eventually connect 48 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, with a trail network over 1,450 miles long.

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Huntington, WV, finalist for grant to revitalize abandoned, deteriorated properties

Written by Linda Harris, The State Journal on . Posted in Media, News

Huntington, WV is competing with four other communities for a technical assistance scholarship from the Center for Community Progress that will help city officials revitalize vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

Up to three of the finalists will receive scholarships through the Center for Community Progress, a national nonprofit.

Also in the running are Albany, New York; Las Vegas, Nevada; Memphis, Tennessee; and the Steel Rivers Council of Governments in Pennsylvania.

The five community finalists will receive no-cost site visits from national experts, as well as assessments of their current activities and systems to address vacant and abandoned properties, through March 2017. Assessments may evaluate: parcel data systems and data management practices; code enforcement programs and strategies; land banks; tax enforcement and foreclosure laws and practices; and vacant land reuse strategies.

Read the full article at The State Journal website.