WEIRTON – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection presented 23 Environmental Awards of Excellence in Charleston Thursday, and a local agency was among the recipients. The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle received the award for Land Revitalization in recognition of the group's work to create community partnerships working toward the repurposing of more than 700 acres of abandoned mill properties in Hancock and Brooke counties over the past five years. The BDC was nominated for the award by Casey Korbini, DEP environmental resource specialist. Article Photos BDC HONORED — The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle was among those recognized by the state Department of Environmental Protection in Charleston Thursday, receiving an award for its land revitalization projects. From left are BDC Executive Director Pat Ford, BDC Assistant Director Marvin Six, DEP Director Patty Hickman, BDC Board Chair Bill D’Alesio, DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman and BDC board member John Frankovitch. — Contributed “We're particularly aware of the impact these abandoned mills have on the environment and have always done everything we can to ensure our impact is a positive rather than a negative one,” BDC Executive Director Pat Ford said. “We are proud to be the recipient of the environmental award.” The DEP's annual Environmental Awards recognize the accomplishments of state industries, municipalities, educators and community leaders who strive the protect the environment, work to be good corporate neighbors and educate the state's citizens. “Protecting the environment is a commitment we must all make together, and today is a special day for our agency because we get to recognize those who go above and beyond in making West Virginia a cleaner and healthier place to live and work,” DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said. In presenting the award, the DEP cited the BDC's hands-on approach to its projects – from technical site visits to community engagement and local history preservation activities – and its efforts to share its experiences with other organizations. “The BDC has been motivated to do our part in cleaning up the environment for future generations,” BDC Chair Bill D'Alesio said. “We consider repurposing abandoned, dilapidated and contaminated properties smart business and would encourage other owners of abandoned and dilapidated property to share in that philosophy.” BDC board member John Frankovitch credited the community members and other organizations with which the BDC has partnered in recent years on its various projects. Those partnerships, he said, have helped many of the local projects move forward, providing assessment and cleanup funding, as well as opportunities to market the properties for future use. “The award is more a reflection of the work of the people behind the scenes – USEPA, WVDEP, Northern Brownfields Assistance Center, Benedum Foundation, county commissioners and all the volunteers who commit the time in our task force meetings to identify, acquire, clean up and develop these abandoned properties,” Frankovitch said. Among some of the BDC's ongoing efforts are projects in Chester with the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery, the former Wheeling Corrugating site in Beech Bottom and work on two former high school football fields.
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