Brownfields Renewal: West Virginia Conference Pulls in Bright Minds of Tomorrow

Written by The San Diego Source, Brownfields Renewal on . Posted in Events, Media, News

The West Virginia Brownfields Conference was held in Morgantown in mid-September for a legitimate reason: proximity to higher learning. The conference moves to different areas of the state each year. Having the 8th Annual Conference in Morgantown provided local communities, development professionals and service providers ample networking opportunities.
“What happens when we have it in Morgantown, we actually get to attract some different university professors we’ve been collaborating with, we’ve had some students come, also we pull some from the Pittsburgh market,” said Patrick Kirby, the director of the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center. “From developers, with the steel towns in the northern part of the state, and the eastern part of the state. As well as some orchards and other former and industrial stuff out there.”
The conference featured a number of topics, including building demolition and environmental threats. Federal Agencies will also discuss upcoming plans, like the new initiatives brought up by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Marshall announces hydroelectric demonstration, education project

Written by The State Journal, June 18, 2013 on . Posted in Media, News

HUNTINGTON – A new Marshall University energy project will demonstrate hydroelectric power using acid mine drainage from coal mining as its source of energy.

Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University have announced the installation of a hydro generator to be used as a demonstration and education project in the Morris Creek Watershed near Montgomery.

Installed in conjunction with the Morris Creek Watershed Association, the hydro generator is using acid mine drainage discharge as its water source. It is the latest in a series of projects the university is conducting in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Energy’s Office of Coalfield Community Development to demonstrate renewable energy applications on former surface-mined properties.

 Read the full story at The State Journal


Wellsburg pursues development plan

Written by Warren Scott, Weirton Daily Times, August 20, 2013 on . Posted in Media, News

 WELLSBURG – Wellsburg officials want to replace unused former industrial sites with new businesses and remove dilapidated structures that create a hazard or eyesore.

And their first step in doing that is to establish a comprehensive plan for development.

“We need a blueprint – what the citizens think the city should be – moving forward,” City Manager Mark Henne told members of the city’s planning commission Monday.

Jared Anderson, an attorney and professor with the West Virginia University Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, told the group a comprehensive plan not only helps cities and counties to prioritize improvements and measures needed to support various types of development.

Anderson noted cities and counties with zoning also are required under state law to adopt a comprehensive plan by June 2014.

Henne said the law clinic was recruited to assist the city in developing a plan because federal money enables it to offer free services as a consultant.

Anderson said the clinic is working with about 15 counties and cities to develop plans through the efforts of its staff and about a dozen second- and third-year law students at the university.

He said two law students have been assigned to assist him in working with Wellsburg and will attend future meetings. He said the plan shouldn’t be confused with zoning as it doesn’t limit use of land, including private development.

But it does identify potential areas for development while including elements supporting that, such as infrastructure, housing and financing, Anderson noted.

Read the full story at the Weirton Daily Times


Microbrewery among redevelopment ideas for 19th century stone building in Martinsburg

Written by Matthew Umstead, The Herald-Mail, June 14, 2013 on . Posted in Media, News

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.— A microbrewery was among the most popular redevelopment ideas pitched Friday for the Matthews Foundry, a dilapidated 19th century stone building located in Martinsburg’s historic industrial core.

Built before the Civil War, the building at 420 N. Queen St. was one of five projects in Main Street communities across the state that the West Virginia Redevelopment Collaborative chose earlier this year to receive technical assistance that could help spur revitalization.

“We’re really excited about this project,” Carrie Staton, the collaborative’s coordinator, told community stakeholders invited to a kickoff for the Benedum Foundation grant-funded project.

Main Street Martinsburg was awarded $5,750 as part of the expanded focus of the redevelopment collaborative, which is part of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

In other similar projects, Staton said in an interview that such grant funding has been used to develop a conceptual design or market and feasibility studies as part of efforts to establish a general vision for the property.

Staton said she expects a project redevelopment plan for the property will be developed by sometime next spring after working with Main Street Martinsburg, community stakeholders and a “brownfields redevelopment team.”  

Participants in the informal workshop-style session Friday morning were asked to draw designs with colored pencils and examine the property’s assets, obstacles and potential uses in context with downtown Martinsburg.

The property’s location in a floodplain area would have to be taken into consideration in redevelopment, said city Planner Tracy Smith, who lauded the multiuse ideas that many offered for the property during the brainstorming session.

Although long since closed, the water-powered foundry’s iron products, such as sewer and water main covers, and drains, can still be spotted at many places in the city.

Ideas pitched in combination or in addition to the microbrewery, included a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating along Tuscarora Creek that runs past the property; a museum to preserve the history of the property; and restoration of a water wheel that once was there. 

Michael Covell, city planning director/engineer, said the foundry property’s redevelopment would ideally become “a link in the chain” of investment in nearby properties that also are part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Related Industries Historic District.

“You have an absolute gold mine here,” Covell said. 

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