Hat’s off to the City of Kingwood for WVDEP ‘Land Revitalization’ award for ‘robust recycling program’

Written by John Dahlia, The Fairmont News on . Posted in Media, News

Last week, the City of Kingwood was given an outstanding honor from the West Virginia Department of Environment Protection. At the 2016 Environmental Awards, which honor the initiatives of organizations and individuals from across West Virginia, Kingwood was awarded the Land Revitalization Award for its “robust recycling program.”

Kingwood was one of 19 organizations from 14 counties honored in categories ranging from Clean Energy and Water Conservation to Land Revitalization and Sewage Treatment.

Kingwood’s award stemmed from how city leaders worked through an increased interest in recycling and community participation over a short period of time. Previous recycling operations outgrew the existing space Kingwood was using. Members of City Council, most of whom are still serving today, recognized that a local abandoned warehouse would be a great building for the city’s growing recycling program.

The warehouse was the old Penmarva building, which previously housed a grocery wholesale company. It was dilapidated and had been neglected since 2007. But its size made it an ideal home for Kingwood’s recycling operations.

City leaders at the time, including former Mayor James Maier, looked at various ways to purchase the building. But it turned out the property was a perfect brownfield site.

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Early Bird Registration is Open for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, Events, News

Register by August 5 to receive the early bird rate

Conference-Banner-Website

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Early bird registration is now open for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference. The event, hosted by the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, will be held Sept. 7-8 at the Marriott Town Center in Charleston.

“Reclaim. Restore. Revitalize.” is the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature sessions covering all aspects of brownfields redevelopment, including project financing and deal structuring, downtown redevelopment, community engagement, specialty training on remediation, networking receptions, and the inaugural Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit on Sept. 8.

“We are very excited for this year’s conference and we are particularly excited about partnering with other Central Appalachian states, agencies and service providers to host the Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit,” said Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University.

“Part of figuring out the redevelopment puzzle is collaboration and learning from others. We feel that the West Virginia Brownfields Conference is the perfect forum for that regional collaboration and the Summit will be something that is beneficial to both West Virginia and the Central Appalachian Region.”

The 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference will kick off with three pre-conference workshops on the afternoon of Sept. 6, followed by a Networking Welcome Reception. The first full day of the Conference, Sept. 7, will feature programming and sessions related to brownfield redevelopment in West Virginia, followed that evening by a Regional Networking Reception. The second day, Sept. 8, will feature sessions covering regional brownfields topics impacting Central Appalachia.

This premier redevelopment event attracts over 200 stakeholders including regional EPA officials, economic development professionals, real estate developers, lawyers, state and local officials, environmental professionals, entrepreneurs, planners, bankers, investors, and community redevelopment professionals.

For more information, to register, and to consider becoming a sponsor or exhibitor for the 2016 #WVBrownfields Conference, visit the Conference webpage.

-WVU-

as/5/18/16

CONTACT: Andrew Stacy, West Virginia Water Research Institute
304.293.7085, astacy@mail.wvu.edu

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION RECEIVES MULTIPLE EPA BROWNFIELD GRANTS

Written by Marvin Six, Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle on . Posted in Media, News

BDC Board Chairman Announces $600,000 USEPA Coalition Grant Award to Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson counties
and two clean-up grant awards ($158,500) in Weirton

The Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle (BDC) has received a highly competitive 2016 US Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant. The award will benefit Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia and Jefferson County in Ohio and specifically benefit sites in Newell, New Cumberland, Weirton, Wellsburg, Toronto, Steubenville, and Mingo Junction.

The grant of $600,000, the maximum award allowed, will assist in the environmental assessment and eventual repurposing of potentially contaminated properties within the coalition area.

“This U.S. EPA grant is critically important in removing barriers to repurposing and job growth in a region that is already strong on economic development fundamentals, such as industry diversification, transportation, and a trained labor force,” said BDC Board Chair William D’Alesio. “Eradicating contaminants on Brownfield sites will increase the fiscal stability of our communities by allowing vacant properties to again contribute to the tax base. It will also help improve the health of residents by cleaning up our environment. This effort demonstrates the strength our three counties and two states can have when we work together toward a common goal—jobs.”

“We are extremely pleased our coalition was the recipient of this major $600,000 USEPA award to be used for our environmental assessments,” said Board Chair Deborah Venci of the Jefferson County Port Authority (Port Authority). “Repurposing our underutilized land assets is a top priority of our coalition. Not only are these sites eventually remediated and redeveloped for the creation of jobs, but environmental justice is served by eliminating detrimental health effects for our communities and their residents.”

The BDC and Port Authority have identified at least 6 vacant, abandoned, or underused sites in six communities. The EPA grant will help fund an environmental assessment of these sites, focusing on contamination stemming from petroleum and other hazardous materials. The funding is distributed through the EPA Brownfields Program, which cleans up and reinvests in sites that are contaminated—or perceived to be so—and have limited redevelopment potential because of potential liability.

The BDC also received two USEPA Clean-up Grants for the former Jimmy Carey Stadium ($52,500) and The Lodge at the Williams ($106,000). BDC Executive Director Patrick Ford is hopeful these cleanup grants will kick start the repurposing of the former Jimmy Carey Stadium and the historic community landmark The Lodge at the Williams Golf and Country Club.

“Our assessment projects have lead to major clean-ups, repurposing, and job creation at sites such as: Rock Springs Business Park (Chester), Chrysler Dealership (Newell), Three Springs Business Park (Weirton), and the Beech Bottom Industrial Park (Beech Bottom). Strategically-based attention, with the use of these grants, make it possible to assess, remediate, repurpose, attract investment, and create jobs for our community,” said Ford.

Ford added that these grants, totaling $758,500, would not have been possible without the support, draft writing, and data gathering assistance of our partners; including U.S. Congressman David McKinley, R-WV, the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Planning Commission, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, the Jefferson County Port Authority, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Benedum Foundation, the board and staff of the BDC, and many other community organizations and volunteers.

About the BDC
Formed in 1993 and chartered as a 501-C3 (private, not for profit) organization, the BDC is the designated economic development organization for Brooke and Hancock counties. The BDC is dedicated to creating jobs and encouraging private investment in the northern panhandle. The BDC gets its support from the WV Development Office, WV Economic Development Authority, USEDA, USEPA, Benedum Foundation, private investors, Brooke and Hancock Counties, and the cities of Weirton, Beech Bottom, Bethany, Weirton, New Cumberland, and Chester.

NBAC Graduate Assistant is Recipient of New Rockefeller Scholarship

Written by WVU News on . Posted in Media, News

West Virginia University students studying within the new John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics now have the opportunity to earn a scholarship also bearing the former U.S. Senator’s name.

A $100,000 gift from Rockefeller to the WVU Foundation has created the John D. Rockefeller IV Leadership Award in Policy & Politics. Former Senator Jay Rockefeller endowed this scholarship in the hope that it would enable our best and brightest students to experience meaningful public service or research that would also help us collectively address some of our biggest policy questions or community challenges.

“My sincere hope is that this scholarship will allow star students to take an important step on their journeys to better understand how they can change their world today and into the future,” said Rockefeller.

The first recipient of this new scholarship is Michelle Sloane of Paramus, New Jersey, a student in the Master of Public Administration program. As a graduate student, Sloane has been involved in several public service projects, including developing community capacity in Fairmont, West Virginia and exploring budget frameworks for the WVU Extension Fire Service. She serves in a leadership role in the WVU Student Association of Public Administrators and volunteers with the West Virginia Botanical Gardens. Michelle also works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

“The Rockefeller Scholarship is the embodiment of the WVU land grant vision of enhancing the vitality and well-being of the people of West Virginia,” Maja Holmes, associate professor of public administration, said. “Michelle’s service-learning project represents the commitment of WVU students to make this vision a reality,” Holmes said.

Terms of the scholarship agreement call for recipients of the award to be undergraduate students who are participating in off-campus service learning opportunities related to policy, leadership, or public services in areas related to challenges facing the state of West Virginia. Second preference would be for graduate students doing direct public service, with the proper temperament, approach, and understanding of the culture and needs of the community in areas related to the challenges facing the state.

Sloane will be working to advance the creation of the Fairmont Black History Museum. The project will address the challenge of giving voice to an underrepresented part of the community, promote understanding of cultural diversity in West Virginia, and offer education and outreach opportunities to members of the greater Fairmont community.

“I am passionate about helping people access information and resources,” Sloane said. “I have worked with Fairmont in different capacities and look forward to the opportunity to delve deeper and help this particular community showcase one of its strongest assets – its rich cultural history.”

Recipients of the award will be required to prepare a report of their experience, which will be included in the John D. Rockefeller IV archives located in the WVU Libraries.

In November 2014, Rockefeller and WVU announced the naming of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at WVU within the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the announcement, Rockefeller and WVU designated the WVU Libraries as the permanent home of the John D. Rockefeller IV Senatorial Archives and dedicated the John D. Rockefeller IV Gallery in the WVU Downtown Library in honor of the Democratic senator’s nearly 50 years of public service to the citizens of West Virginia. For more on the naming and library archives, see earlier news release.

The Rockefeller gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion fundraising effort on behalf of WVU runs through December 2017.