Officials consider remediation, redevelopment options in West Virginia

Officials in two West Virginia towns are considering strategies for remediating and redeveloping unused properties into areas that could once again become useful economically.

Clarksburg considers revitalizing Anchor Hocking property.

The 17-acre Anchor Hocking property, a former glass plant in Clarksburg, West Virginia, may be redeveloped if the owner can find a suitable use for it, according to a report by The Exponent Telegram.

The brownfield would be yet another in a long string of remediation projects that have occurred in Clarksburg in the past several years. Several former industrial sites now have new purposes. However, in most of these cases the properties in question were abandoned or owned by bankrupt owners, making it relatively easy for the city to take over and speed the process of redevelopment. 

Now, money is more of an issue.

"It's obviously one of the prime pieces of real estate we still have left in our city, though we still have to maneuver through some type of agreement with the owner if it were to be developed," Clarksburg Vice Mayor Gary Bowden told the news source. "If funding were available, I think our city has shown it is quite adept at using those funds to take properties that have sat vacant … and turn them around into renovated, reclaimed properties where new development could occur."

Despite its current status as a brownfield, the Anchor Hocking property is located next to several main roads and could be attractive to businesses, provided that the land is cleaned up properly.

Middleway receive grant for brownfield remediation

Before Middleway, a small village in West Virginia's Jefferson County, can revitalize its historic district, it must begin the process of redeveloping land that currently contains "abandoned and dilapidated" buildings, according to an article in The Journal.

The needs of the area are many. "For a long time, (the Middleway Conservancy Association) has been trying to deal with the issue of tires and trash being dumped on vacant lots," Peter Fricke, president of the conservancy, told the news source. "We're also working on sidewalks, since people are saying there's no safe place to walk in the village. There were sidewalks and street drains put in around 1790, but the level of Queen Street rose about 15 inches due to paving."

Funds for these projects will come, in part, from a $10,000 technical assistance grant awarded by the 2014 Brownfields, Abandoned and Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings Technical Assistance Program. This will help support the work that must be done to clean these properties and prepare them for future use.

Both this project and the one in Clarksburg will likely require significant cleanup efforts and a navigation of state and federal environmental laws. Stakeholders in these cases would be better off working with environmental consultants to navigate these requirements and avoid potential liabilities.