2015 WV Brownfield Award Recipients

Looking back on 10 years of brownfields work in West Virginia, the Brownfields Assistance Centers presented the first West Virginia Brownfield Awards at the 2015 West Virginia Brownfields Conference to recognize hard work and great achievements in brownfields redevelopment from across the state. These awards recognized individuals and communities who have made major contributions to the redevelopment of brownfields in West Virginia.

DSCN5568The West Virginia Brownfield Award in Economic Development recognizes a project or community partner that has demonstrated excellence in economic development on one or more brownfield sites. The 2015 recipient was Christy Laxton, executive director of the Wyoming County Economic Development Authority (EDA). Under Christy’s leadership, the Wyoming County EDA was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment Grant in 2006. The EDA identified Brownfields sites across the county, creating the Brownfields Stakeholder Advisory Board, working with community members from across Wyoming County.

    The West Virginia Brownfield Award in Community EngagementSpellman recognizes a partner or community who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to community engagement, working closely with communities to identify and implement redevelopment priorities. The 2015 recipient was the West Virginia Community Development Hub (The Hub). The Hub has worked closely with both Brownfields Assistance Centers on a number of brownfield projects, frequently partnering in communities served by both programs. The Hub is currently working hand-in-hand with the NBAC as leaders in statewide initiatives to address abandoned and dilapidated buildings through the work of the Abandoned Property Coalition.

  Task ForceThe West Virginia Brownfield Award for Environmental Impact recognizes a project, organization, or community that has made a significant impact on the cleanup of environmental hazards through single or multiple projects. The 2015 recipient was the Brooke-Hancock Brownfields Task Force. This Task Force has led the regional brownfield development program, administering three EPA Brownfields Assessment grants, assessing over 22 sites and leveraging over 300 new or retained jobs. Their efforts have secured over $800,000 in EPA federal funding and leveraged more than $1 million in additional EPA assessment and cleanup funds on specific sites in the Northern Panhandle.

WilliamsThe West Virginia Brownfield Award for Local Leadership recognizes a neighborhood, city, or county leader with a strong commitment to brownfield redevelopment. The 2015 recipient was Mayor Steve Williams of Huntington. Under the leadership of Mayor Williams, Huntington has received $600,000 in federal funds to spark reuse of 78 acres of underutilized, former manufacturing facilities located along the Ohio River. The vision for these brownfields sites includes new recreational and riverfront facilities; retail and hotel development; research and development facilities; green infrastructure for storm water management; and an “advanced polymer center” that will commercialize new technologies, foster entrepreneurship and train highly-skilled workers.

The Redevelopment Partner Award recognizes an individual, organization, agency, or other institution that has demonstrated a strong commitment to brownfield redevelopment and worked closely with both West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center’s (the Centers) to facilitate brownfield redevelopment across the state. The 2015 recipient was Marlo Long of BB&T. Marlo has worked with the Centers for many years, serving as a member of the Advisory Board for the Brownfields Assistance Center (BAC) at Marshall. Marlo assisted the BAC at Marshall on several projects, helping to secure funding for assessments, identify construction financing, and more.

PlymaleThe Brownfields Visionary Award recognizes an exemplary individual or organization that has shown innovation and vision in the redevelopment of brownfields with major statewide impact. The 2015 recipient was state Senator Robert Plymale. In 2005, Plymale was the key architect in the legislation that created the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers. Plymale saw the need and the opportunity to promote and encourage the reuse of brownfields to benefit community and economic development. His strong belief in the expertise that Marshall University and West Virginia University can provide the state led him to create an innovative model for the implementation of technical assistance. Ten years later, the model has been nationally recognized and other states are interested in replicating it.

superThe Centers’ directors George Carico, BAC at Marshall, and Patrick Kirby, NBAC, received the 2015 West Virginia Brownfields Superhero Awards for their dedication, skill, and passion in the field of brownfields development in West Virginia. Under the leadership of George and Patrick, the Centers have helped communities pursue and receive over $7 million in EPA funding alone. George and Patrick have helped to educate the broader population of West Virginia on issues of brownfield redevelopment and frequently travel outside the state to share best practices from West Virginia communities.