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.

Moundsville Brownfield Sites Are Identified

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Media, News

Unlike many cities where blight is concentrated in specific neighborhoods, Moundsville’s vacant and dilapidated buildings are spread throughout town, according to a study by the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

Luke Elser, the organization’s project manager, spoke before the city council at their meeting Tuesday evening to present their findings, joined with Rick Healy, from the Bel-O-Mar Regional Council. The majority of vacant buildings studied were in good to decent condition. Sixty were in poor condition, with just two being recommended for demolition.

The unique trait Moundsville had, Elser said, was its lack of a “bad neighborhood” where many buildings were in disrepair — rather, the identified structures were evenly spread throughout the city.

“We didn’t find any gigantic red flags with any one issue,” Elser said. “We found that these buildings were spread all over town. There were a couple of hot spots, but basically we found the things you’d expect in a typical West Virginian town. … The only different thing I’ve seen that we don’t see in other communities is that we don’t have a neighborhood in severe distress. This is a community-wide issue, as far as buildings that are chronically vacant or dilapidated.”

In particular, Elser identified several vacant structures in great shape that could be used to immediately house potential businesses. He urged the city to compile a list of buildings available for sale or lease, to entice both new businesses and residents to Moundsville.

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