Posts Tagged ‘redevelopment’

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.

READ MORE

The Mon River: A Regional Recreational Asset

Written by Power of 32 Staff on . Posted in Media, News

Years ago the Mon River Valley was dotted with bustling communities filled with the soot and fire of the coal and coke era. Today, the residents of the towns along the Monongahela River are looking at that water corridor with new eyes. River towns are offering residents and visitors access to this waterway for outdoor recreation and launching businesses that support the emerging river recreation.

Leading the effort is the Mon River Valley Coalition (MRVC), an outgrowth of the River Town Program, launched in 2011 by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to help communities recognize the river as an asset for community and economic development.

The MRVC got started when a group of civic and municipal leaders from Mon River communities graduated from the three-year River Town Program and wanted to continue working together. The Coalition was launched in 2013 and is now led by National Road Heritage Corridor director, Donna Holdorf, and River Town Program director, Cathy McCollom. Twenty communities bordering the Monongahela River now participate.

According to Cathy McCollom, it’s the collaborative spirit of the people and organizations involved that have made the difference. “These are small towns and small communities,” she says, “but working together, they keep growing.”

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.