Obtaining EPA Brownfield Funds for Projects in Wheeling, Moundsville, Paden City | News, Sports, Jobs


This concept drawing shows the vision of Robrecht Riverfront Park at the mouth of Wheeling Creek along the Ohio River in downtown Wheeling. (Photo file)

WHEELING – Contaminated sites in the upper Ohio Valley will receive funds to help revitalize them, thanks to grants awarded Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency for the state of West Virginia.

Seven mountain state municipalities or agencies were named recipients of the 2021 EPA Multipurpose Assessment and Contaminated Area Cleanup Fellowships in a virtual conference held on Wednesday afternoon.

Three of those winners – the City of Wheeling, the Belomar Regional Council and the Paden City Development Authority – plan to use the funds to revitalize the Rust Belt sites in the Upper Ohio Valley.

“Many communities facing economic hardship – especially areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment and degradation – do not have the resources to initiate brownfield assessment and cleanup projects,” Diana Esher, EPA’s interim Mid-Atlantic regional administrator, said, noting that $ 2.9 million in EPA brownfield clean-up funds are being distributed to the seven communities in West Virginia.

“Grants from the EPA Brownfields program provide communities across the country with the opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while leveraging existing infrastructure.

A grant of $ 360,000 was given to the Town of Wheeling to help clean up the 3-acre Robrecht Riverfront property located downtown. This site at the mouth of Wheeling Creek along the Ohio River was a former railroad right-of-way dating from the mid-1800s. The site along Main Street once housed the Robrecht grocery store, which is adjacent to the Celeron Plaza and other commercial sites that have been revitalized in recent years.

Since the 1970s, when rail operations ceased downtown, the Robrecht property has deteriorated.

Preliminary plans for the Robrecht Waterfront Park include the installation of walking trails and connections to the Wheeling Heritage Trail, new landscaping and paved parking, a ramp to the river with a kayak launch and canoe, walks above the creek and 10-foot-wide trails along the shore of the creek.

“Because it is located in the floodplain, this site was difficult to put back into productive use”, Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott spoke about the Robrecht property. “It really is a great opportunity to clean up this site and convert it into a great outdoor recreation facility.”

Last fall, Governor Jim Justice announced a grant of $ 240,864 for the park project through the state’s Transportation and Recreational Trails Program. Once developed, the Robrecht Waterfront Park is expected to be a major starting point for the Heritage Trail, with opportunities for outdoor recreation and areas for public art exhibitions.

City officials noted that development of the site is expected to cost around $ 1 million and that additional funds are being sought to help bring the park to life after remediation and design work is complete.

An evaluation grant of $ 600,000 to the Belomar Regional Council will be used for targeted areas of the valley. Among the properties being considered for revitalization is the former Fostoria Glass plant site in Moundsville. There are no buildings left on the 8-acre site, but the soil on this land is in need of remediation due to the extensive glass-making operation that took place there. There has been renewed interest in residential development at the site, which will require further environmental assessment, officials said.

Several wasteland in the four-county area served by Belomar – including the counties of Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel in West Virginia, as well as Belmont County in Ohio – have been identified through the program. the agency, which received a $ 200,000 raise in 2019 from an EPA. Contaminated Site Assessment and Remediation Grant Allocations A number of areas in the Wheeling area – the largest metropolitan area served by Belomar – are awaiting assessment and future cleanup.

“We still have many properties in our brownfield inventory, so this new grant will certainly be put to good use,” Natalie Hamilton, of the Belomar regional councilor, said about 90% of the previous grant had already been used on local contaminated land across the region.

A $ 500,000 clean-up grant to the Paden City Development Authority – its very first EPA Brownfield grant – was awarded to clean up the Paden City Industrial Park. The target site for the funding is the 8.6-acre property formerly occupied by the Paden City Pottery and Corning Glass Works companies, which made tableware for more than 75 years.

“The clean-up site chosen for the last century was the Mecca of employment opportunities for the citizens of Paden City and the surrounding communities”, PCDA’s Jim Bowen said. “This grant will help us revitalize the site and give the community back to what it was, and even improve it. This is our goal. “

The PCDA also plans to use the grant funds to support community outreach activities and conduct a workforce skills assessment for the Paden City Industrial Park site.

Other recipients of state grants included the Bluefield West Virginia Economic Development Authority, the Boone County Community Development Corporation, the Kanawha County Commission, and the Region 4 Planning and Development Council.

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