EPA grant to help restore lodge

WEIRTON – A brighter future is in the works for one of Weirton's landmark buildings, thanks to some assistance from local leaders and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Earlier this month, during the annual West Virginia Brownfields Conference, it was announced that the Lodge at Williams Golf and Country Club would receive assistance through a Targeted Brownfields Assessment grant. The assessment grant is aimed at paving the way for an eventual $5.5 million investment in the Lodge, which was built in the early 1930s and once served as the summer and weekend home of E.T. Weir and his family. Article Photos MEETING — Jim Markovitz, owner of Williams Golf and Country Club, left, speaks with Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, on Thursday, outside of the Williams Lodge. Through the use of a targeted brownfield assessment grant, the two are looking at new uses for the house at Williams Golf and Country Club. — Craig Howell       Jim Markovitz, owner of Williams Golf and Country Club, said he wants to restore the house as part of his ongoing work at the country club, and use it to contribute toward Weirton's economy. “There are numerous things we could do,” Markovitz said. Among possible future uses for the Lodge are a wedding and banquet facility, office space for country club employees, a pro shop and providing rooms for overnight guests. Markovitz said there also could be the possibility of a restaurant, which would be open to the public, providing an opportunity for those who aren't members of the country club to sample the food prepared by executive chief Dominic Pulice and his staff. “That way the community can come up and enjoy it,” he said. The project also has the potential to create at least 12 new jobs, adding to the 48 already in existence at Williams. According to Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the targeted assessment grant will provide a report of any remediation needed. They then must come up with a strategy to address the revitalization. “It's a two-step process,” Ford said. Ford noted the building's architecture and possible future uses were major selling points when it came to getting the EPA involved in the project. “That's what was most appealing to the EPA,” Ford said. The targeted grant such as the EPA has awarded includes services such as assessments, cleanup options and cost estimates, minimizing uncertainties surrounding the site. This is the fifth TBA grant awarded to the BDC in the past three years, and the third such grant in Weirton. The other two were awarded to projects at the Three Springs Business Park and the former Jimmy Carey Stadium. The Lodge was built just prior to the construction of the country club, located adjacent to the house, at a cost of between $40,000 and $50,000. In addition to the Weir family, it also was used by J.C. Williams, who was president of Weirton Steel, as well as being used for years by Weirton Steel to host business guests. In recent years, it served as a private residence. The building's architect was Fred H. Clarke, of Steubenville.

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