B.A.D properties the topic at Williams

WEIRTON – Concerns over abandoned and dilapidated buildings, and how to address them, will be the topic of discussion during a workshop to be held in Weirton March 4. The Property Rescue Initiative will host a workshop, beginning at 9:30 a.m., at Williams Golf and Country Club, discussing how to access funding and provide technical assistance for those wanting to address abandoned buildings in their communities. The PRI was launched in 2015 with the goal of creating a revolving loan fund – of $1 million per year over the next five years – for municipalities and counties to acquire or remove dilapidated properties. The workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the B.A.D. (Brownfield, Abandoned and Dilapidated) process, as well as a panel to discuss ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Hancock County Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller is scheduled to serve as the keynote speaker for the Weirton event. There also are two breakout sessions planned, focusing on “Energizing Your Community and Building Your Team,” and “Property Reuse and Creative Repayment Strategies.” “The problem with dilapidated and abandoned houses have been exacerbated in the last 20 years due to shrinking populations and troubles in the housing market,” Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, stated. “BAD buildings in our region are an expense that our local governments simply cannot afford to incur, and that the expense grows with every year a property remains dilapidated or abandoned. Such properties produce no or little property tax income, and they require plenty of time, attention, and money.” Registration will cost $15. The event is sponsored by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, the West Virginia Community Development HUB, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center and the WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. In addition to Weirton, PRI workshops also are scheduled for Berkeley Springs on Feb. 5; Huntington on Feb. 19; Beckley on March 18 and Buckhannon on April 1.

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