Brownfield coalition to meet on Tuesday

STEUBENVILLE – A two state brownfield coalition will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday to finalize details of a $600,000 brownfield rehabilitation grant application to be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, the Jefferson County Port Authority and the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission. The meeting will be held at the BHJ Metropolitan Planning Commission offices 124 North Fourth Street. The three agencies agreed to work together on the grant application and Marvin Six of the BDC is completing the application paperwork due by Dec. 18. “We are trying to build an even larger coalition of stakeholders, elected officials and involved citizens from Jefferson, Hancock and Brooke counties. We are looking at cleanup opportunities and the opportunities to create future employment opportunities remediating old industrial work sites as well as lingering health issues. A number of old industrial sites have already had the Phase One remediation assessment work done and we now need to move on with the Phase Two work. That's why this $600,000 EPA grant is so important,” said BHJ Metropolitan Planning Commission Executive Director Mike Paprocki. “In Hancock County we are looking at an old porcelain facility next to the Homer Laughlin operation and in Brooke County we are looking at the former GenPack facility in Wellsburg. In Jefferson County the potential brownfield sites include the former Pennsylvania Railroad Roundhouse in Mingo Junction, as well as the Weirton Steel Steubenville plant and the Marina Property in Steubenville,” continued Paprocki. “For the first time, U.S. EPA is permitting coalition applications that crossover regional boundary. In this case, Jefferson County resides in U.S. EPA Region 5, Chicago while Brooke and Hancock counties are within Region 3, Philadelphia. In this instance, the coalition application defines the true economic value our metropolitan area known as the Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area. The proposal and its stakeholders further recognize that the Ohio River unites our metropolitan area for the common good and welfare of its constituency,” Paprocki stated. “You have local successes and we have had local successes so why not work with the us and the BHJ to go after this grant. The grant will be used for assessment of brownfield sites in Jefferson, Hancock and Brooke counties. I believe this coalition will be one of the models in the country,” said Pat Ford, executive director of the BDC. “We are going after what I consider a very sexy grant. It bodes well for us to go after the grant and it sends a very strong message to the U.S. EPA. And the model we are approving should be used to go after other resources in the future. It will be three counties, two states, two economic development agencies and two different EPA regions. I am very excited about this. We now have the people in place to make this take off,” continued Ford. “We will be able to identify brownfield sites and turn them into shovel ready sites. The more ready we are for potential developers the better off we will be. Strength in numbers is an important part of this. There will be a lot of paperwork and administrative paperwork. The BHJ has already agreed to handle the administrative work,” said Ford. “The BDC has obtained $2.5 million in EPA grant money to get $70 million in private money. Our success stories include a former pottery in Newell, former football stadiums in Chester and Weirton, a glass factory in and a former corrugating plant in Brooke County. We need to focus on the larger collaboration to do more projects in the future,” declared Ford.

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