Posts Tagged ‘NBAC’

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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Community Members Meet in Lost Creek to Discuss Rail Trail Project

Written by Austin Weiford, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

LOST CREEK — The first in a series of community meetings on the future of Harrison County’s rail trails took place at the Lost Creek Community Building Tuesday evening.

The meeting, which was hosted by Harrison Rail Trails in cooperation with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, entailed discussion and feedback among community members interested in connecting trail sections throughout the county.

After informational presentations from Anna Withrow, a Brownfield redevelopment specialist; Kent Spellman, a representative for the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition; and Diana Druga, president of Harrison Rail Trails, attendees formed groups to discuss assets of the trail section to the south of Lost Creek, as well as challenges in restoring that section and possible solutions.

Of particular note was a trestle bridge that is in need of repair or replacement.

The information gathered will be used to create a trail development plan later this year.

“I think the meeting went great,” Withrow said. “We got good feedback on general things. There are still some more details that need to be followed up on, but we have a good start.”

Withrow said development of the trail south of Lost Creek would present various challenges.

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Harrison Rail Trail to host meetings around the county to discuss completing trail system

Written by Austin Weiford, Staff Writer, The Exponent Telegram on . Posted in Media, News

CLARKSBURG — Harrison Rail Trails, in cooperation with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, is hosting a series of community meetings around Harrison County to discuss the future of the local trail system. The meetings are a follow up to others that were held in the fall.

Anna Withrow, Brownfield redevelopment specialist, said the center is working on a connectivity plan to help bridge the gaps in the current system and connect the trails in the county with other trails that run throughout the state and beyond.

“We want to get feedback and participation from the community at these meetings,” Withrow said. “During our site recon in some of the gaps that we want to fill, there were several no trespassing signs posted by private property owners who now own the land that the trail runs through. We haven’t started any conversations, but we do anticipate some challenges there. So we want to try and open a dialogue with the community and see what steps we might be able to take to work with citizens and close these gaps.”

Harrison Rail Trails, a non-profit organization, is a member of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, or I ‘Heart’ Trails, which is a regional trail project intended to eventually connect 48 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, with a trail network over 1,450 miles long.

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Chester Talks Riverfront’s Future

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Media, News

CHESTER — Now that construction has begun on the Rock Springs Business Park, the city of Chester is getting some outside help with what to do with the rest of the riverfront.

About a dozen Chester officials, residents and business owners met Thursday with a team from the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Riverlife to brainstorm about the riverfront’s future.

But first they came up with a list of words to describe the riverfront as it appears today — “sloppy,” “uninviting,” “inaccessible,” “underutilized,” “underappreciated,” “wild,” “green,” “beautiful,” “overgrown,” “steep” and “priceless.”

Then they answered two more questions: “How would you describe your ideal riverfront? What are the biggest impediments to riverfront development?” — and posted the words on a board.

“I’m really encouraged that half this board is positive. It speaks to what could happen in the future,” said Nina Chase, Riverlife senior project manager.

Chase and Riverlife Vice President Jay Sukernek said their goal was to leave Chester on Thursday with a list of next steps toward the implementation of a riverfront project.

“Trying to find out what works for the community is really important,” Sukernek said. “There’s a big difference between downtown Pittsburgh and downtown Chester.”

Some of the groundwork for such a project already has been laid, starting with the 2011 acquisition of the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor pottery site by the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.

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