WEIRTON – The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle is getting some assistance with cleanup efforts at three area brownfield sites, with plans to work toward eventual redevelopment and future business growth. On Thursday, the BDC announced it had received three brownfield site specific hazardous cleanup grants – totaling $600,000 – through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield grant program. Sites to be covered by the grants include the former Wheeling Corrugating plant in Beech Bottom, the former Brooke Glass factory in Wellsburg and the Chester Riverfront Revitalization project on land where the Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery once stood, according to BDC Executive Director Pat Ford. Article Photos CLEANING IT UP — BDC Executive Director Pat Ford is shown at the site of the former Brooke Glass in Wellsburg, announcing plans for future redevelopment projects at the property. The BDC, on Thursday, announced it had received three site-specific brownfield cleanup grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist with cleanup of Brooke Glass, the former Wheeling Corrugating and the Chester riverfront area. — Contributed “The BDC has been able to successfully use federal, state, local, philanthropic and private funding and resources to leverage over $16 million of private investment into repurposing seven sites in Brooke and Hancock counties,” Ford said. “With minimum local investment, the BDC has been able to leverage resources to redevelop brownfields that result in clean, affordable land for new developments, reduce community blight, preserve and create jobs, and generate tax revenues. The awards from the USEPA help the region as a whole realize a better economic and environmental future for our area.” The grants will be focused on the removal of hazardous materials and petroleum products from defined brownfield areas at each of the selected sites. Brownfields are defined as abandoned, or little-used properties, with environmental issues which often make them unattractive to redevelopment. Several such sites have been identified throughout the region, often associated with previous industrial use. “Brownfield sites are a major obstacle in redeveloping former industrial properties. This federal funding will greatly assist us in our efforts to repurpose industrial and commercial sites in the Northern Panhandle,” Bill D'Alesio, chairman of the BDC board, stated. Redevelopment of such sites is part of the BDC's economic development initiative in the Northern Panhandle. “The grant dollars will allow the BDC to address these concerns and begin remediation, allowing the Northern Panhandle to move forward with redevelopment plans for the sites and create much-needed real estate inventory for our region to attract new business and industry,” Hancock County Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said. In addition to the new $600,000 in grants, the BDC has received an additional $1,453,000 in funding from the EPA, Benedum Foundation and Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center to go toward assessments, planning, cleanup and development of these three sites as well as the former Memorial Field in Newell, the former Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton and the former Weirton Heights Volunteer Fire Department station in Weirton. “The initiative to repurpose abandoned sites is a key component to our region's brownfield development strategy,” Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis stated. “By identifying and assessing a variety of brownfield sites, contaminated with hazardous substances, the USEPA funding fills a much-needed financial gap to jump start new projects in Brooke and Hancock counties by getting these sites cleaned up and ready for development.” The former fire station is now the home of an expanded and relocated Domino's franchise, while the Newell football field has been announced as the future site for Hancock County Chrysler. The old Jimmy Carey Stadium site currently is going through a rezoning process to be the possible future home for Georgia-based Metal Conversion Technologies LLC, a company which recycles and processes lithium ion batteries from electric vehicles.
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