Posts Tagged ‘Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center’

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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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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BDC Purchases Former Follansbee Steel Site for Future Redevelopment

Written by Staff Reporters, The Weirton Daily Times on . Posted in Media, News

FOLLANSBEE — The former Follansbee Steel location has been shuttered for four years, but it’s about to get a whole new look.

The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle closed on the property for more than $1.3 million Thursday and have awarded a contract for the brownfield remediation assessment to Civil Environment Consultants of Export, Pa., according to BDC Executive Director Pat Ford.

Ford said the West Virginia Economic Development Authority granted a $1.3 million loan for the purchase and the Northern West Virginia Brownfield Assistance Center awarded a $12,500 grant for a boundary survey and Phase 1 environmental assessment required for the loan.

Jim Andreozzi, Brooke County Commissioner and BDC executive board member, said the site “has some environmental concerns and the BDC will undertake a process of remediating it. And now, we have an opportunity to put it back to use. For over four years, the site has been vacant. Now, we’re planning for an end use that will have people working on the site again. That has been the mission of the BDC and Brooke and Hancock county commissions over the past five years, to reclaim B.A.D. — brownfield, abandoned and dilapidated — properties, develop them and put people back to work on these properties.”

BDC and Brooke County officials visited the site Thursday to discuss future plans. Ford envisions selling parcels to two to three new businesses, possibly in the energy, metals or transportation industries.

“The reason why (the property) is so valuable to us — so valuable to the Northern Panhandle — is its access: river, rail and highway,” he said.

Follansbee City Manager John DeStefano said he was aware the purchase was pending and is pleased to hear it’s complete.

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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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