Posts Tagged ‘brownfields’

Making BAD Buildings Good Again: West Virginia communities display best efforts to tackle dilapidated building issues

Written by Darlene J. Swiger, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

Though West Virginia is known for its peaceful and serene country scenery, nestled in several of its mountains are communities fighting blighted and dilapidated structures that significantly damage that pristine image.

“Honestly, it’s been an issue for a long time,” said Luke Elser, project manager of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. “In West Virginia, it feels like a lot of communities and the citizens themselves have begun to address this by saying, ‘This problem needs to be solved, and we need to solve it as a community.’”

Elser feels optimistic West Virginia’s communities are moving in the right direction.

“There is rehab happening all over the state,” he said. “Each community is approaching it differently. The solutions that may work in Charleston might not work in the Northern Panhandle or other parts of the state.”

Broadening Spectrum

Previously, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center focused its efforts on brownfield sites that once housed commercial properties, abandoned glass factories and other environmental hazards. However, the center has since broadened the spectrum of blighted properties it services.“We’ve been working with these communities to look at revitalization of these dilapidated buildings, looking at residential and commercial properties in the dilapidated downtown areas,” Elser said. “We’re working on removing the worst, most dangerous structures, working to fix the ones that we don’t have to tear down, so that we get the vacant properties back to a productive use.”To do so, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center started a BAD (Blighted, Abandoned and Dilapidated) Buildings program.

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Shinnston Council moves forward with BAD buildings program

Written by Kirsten Reneau, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

SHINNSTON — The city of Shinnston plans to take down another building on Pike Street as part of their BAD buildings program.

The BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated) buildings is a program the city has been working on with help from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center through West Virginia University.

City Council members unanimously granted their attorney, Trey Simmerman, permission to pursue legal action against the owner of a building that could be dangerous, Vice Mayor Pat Kovalck said, which took place at Monday’s meeting.

“We granted permission to pursue that because letters have not been returned, phone calls have not been returned, so we thought that we needed to go a different route and get this building taken care of,” Kovalck said.

Kovalck said that having this building is not only dangerous, but unfair to other residents of the area.

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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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