Embracing the Future, Letting Go of the Past

Written by Stacy Raffo on . Posted in Uncategorized

Highlighting New Opportunities in Richwood

The future was vividly on display last Thursday when the Developer’s Tour swung through Richwood. The Milltown Community Economic Development Group, in conjunction with Downtown Appalachia, hosted the event. The purpose of the tour is to bring together public and private funding entities with local current and potential business owners.

The tour began with a reception at the charming art gallery of Carma and Kevin Lawrenson in a restored historic building.   Stacy Raffo, Executive Director of the Mill Town organization and other state and local business leaders addressed the group on exciting opportunities for economic growth.  Jeromy Rose, a Richwood leader, talked about the surge in civic energy since the 2016 flood.  “We are on the cusp of a new decade,” he said as he recounted all the times throughout Richwood’s history when the town roared back stronger than ever after disasters like floods and fires.

California transplant Chuck Tousseing addressed the crowd of nearly 50 on the potential for Richwood to become a small-scale Silicon Valley. “‘Silicon Holler’ is real,” he said, as he explained how his non-profit Richwood Scientific has already trained close to 100 coders.  “I don’t just want this to be a tourist town where people visit,” he said, “I want it to be a place where people come to live.”   Tousseing has already hired several of his trainees and he hopes to attract more of his contacts in California who might enjoy the high speed broadband and unique lifestyle Richwood offers.

There was a lot of talk about the future of trails and biking.  Ray Moeller of the New River Gorge Regional Development Association shared ideas of how a town can capitalize on bikers, cyclists and ATV riders. “You’ve already passed an ordinance in Richwood to allow ATVs in town. ” He and others threw out ideas of how Richwood could build a niche economy around the needs of these kinds of tourists.  He mentioned the thriving local eateries and the Whistle Punk Grill & Taproom which will open in the spring in a 1920’s building on Main Street.

David Kahley and Eric Neice, are fund managers from the Pennsylvania, they invest exclusively in small trail towns in a three state region. Called The Progress Fund, Kahley’s company has a successful history in small town businesses they’ve funded like pubs, taverns, cafes, bike shops, river outfitters, pottery shops, B&Bs, cabins and campgrounds, wineries, hostels, distilleries, microbreweries, artisan cheese shops and more.  “We’ve funded over $60 million in small business projects, ” Kahley explained, “and we have a 2% failure rate.”  Much of their success comes from the way they assist new business owners with both money and support.

Former resident David Ward sees the AIR BNB movement as something Richwood could profit from, he traveled from Miami for the event.  “I am seriously thinking of moving back here and working from home. With the low cost of living, amazing broadband and outdoor recreation this place is like a secret paradise.”

After touring several buildings in town and learning about more potential projects and opportunities the tour ended up back at the corner of Main and Oakford for a reception.  Better things are coming and Richwood is ready to embrace the future.  As Jeromy Rose so aptly put it, “The good ole days are ahead of us.”  

BDC Application for Newell Porcelain Cleanup Available for Comment

Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in Uncategorized

The Business Development Corporation will be seeking funding from the US EPA Brownfields program to fund cleanup at the Newell Porcelain site. Community stakeholders are invited to share their comments pm the draft proposal with the BDC in advance of submission on November 16.

Stakeholders can share comments at a public meeting on Wednesday, November 8 at 10 AM at the Newell Lions Club (510 Washington St, Newell, WV 26050) or via email to Anna Withrow at anna.withrow@mail.wvu.edu.

Download Draft Proposal

Download Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives

 

BDC Application for Weirton Steel Cleanup Available for Comment

Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in Uncategorized

The Business Development Corporation will be seeking funding from the US EPA Brownfields program to fund cleanup at the Weirton Steel site. Community stakeholders are invited to share their comments pm the draft proposal with the BDC in advance of submission on November 16.

Stakeholders can share comments at a public meeting on Wednesday, November 8 at 2 PM at the BDC offices (324A Penco Rd, Weirton, WV 26062) or via email to Anna Withrow at anna.withrow@mail.wvu.edu.

Download Draft Proposal

Download Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives for Bottom House

Download Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives for Gate 1 Office Building

Download Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives for Electric Maintenance Building

Download Drat Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives for Ladle House

Download Draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives for Open Hearth Warehouse

WV Brownfields Assistance Centers Honor Leaders in Brownfield Redevelopment

Written by Carrie Staton on . Posted in News, Uncategorized

Leaders from across the state were recognized for their work in brownfield redevelopment earlier this month. The WV Brownfields Assistance Centers presented the 2017 WV Brownfield Awards to five projects, organizations, and individuals who have demonstrated strong commitments to redevelopment. Award categories included: Economic Development, Community Engagement, Environmental Impact, Local Leadership, and Brownfields Visionary. Economic Development: Jeffrey Lusk and the Hatfield McCoy Trails were honored for their work in McDowell County on the development of a new trailhead facility for the Pocahontas Trail System. This project will yield economic development success for the Trail Authority, the Town of Bramwell, Mercer County, and the adjacent private business, demonstrating that underground storage tank issues do not have to stop new economic development. Community Engagement: The Morgan County Recreational Complex in Berkeley Springs was honored for the project team’s commitment to creative and comprehensive community engagement.  Over the course of the project, they have worked closely with teachers, school officials, students, parents, and other networks of organizations to ensure that the reuse of the site met the community’s needs. Environmental Impact: The project team on the Trimodal Terminal Project in Follansbee were honored for their vision, risk taking, and perseverance in remediating over 400 acres of former Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corporation property. Project leads and property owners Jim Joseph and Scotty Ewusiak noted that the success of this project would have been impossible without the commitment of the full team, including the WVDEP, US EPA, and Lydia Work at Environmental Standards. The project was further supported by a loan from the Power of 32 Site Development Fund, managed by Callay Capital. Local Leadership: New Historic Thomas and the City of Thomas were recognized as the Local Leaders of the year for their work in revitalizing the city through the inventorying, assessing, remediating, and redeveloping brownfield sites. Through the exceptional collaboration between city officials and New Historic Thomas, the city has been awarded over half a million dollars in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program and the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center and leveraged significant additional grant funds and private investment for revitalization/redevelopment. and Brownfields Visionary. Brownfields Visionary: Matt Ward, who has played a major role in the national and statewide brownfield movements since their beginnings over 20 years ago, received the Brownfields Visionary Award, which recognizes an exemplary individual or organization that has shown innovation and vision in the redevelopment of brownfields with major statewide impact. Mat has worked as a consultant to the US EPA Brownfields and Land Revitalization Office since 1997 and helped dozens of communities across the nation secure brownfield resources and implement revitalization strategies. “Brownfields redevelopment requires vision, persistence, and tenacity.  West Virginia is lucky to have individuals and organizations that have all three of those characteristics,” said Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center Director Patrick Kirby.  “All of the 2017 Brownfield Award winners bring an additional ingredient to the mix – catalytic leadership that has changed the course of the communities they are working in.” Read more about the 2017 WV Brownfield Awards recipients.