Friday, May 14, 2010
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Southern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University, a program of the university’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS), has helped three state entities secure $600,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The funds will be used to assess brownfields, which are abandoned or vacant properties that have potential environmental impairments but have been determined to have significant prospects for business, housing or recreational redevelopment.
Marshall’s Brownfields Assistance Center partnered with each of the following successful applicants to write and submit the grant applications, and will be working closely with each entity during the assessments:
The Fayette County Commission has been awarded $200,000 to assess and prioritize brownfields properties throughout the county. There are an estimated 400 brownfields properties in Fayette County, many of which are located along main thoroughfares used extensively by tourists and recreationalists.
The City of Nitro received $200,000 to continue assessing and updating the city’s brownfields sites. More than 50 underused and vacant brownfields sites already have been identified in Nitro with current EPA funding. The additional assessment activities will provide the city a more thorough inventory of contaminated sites that have potential for reuse as commercial properties, greenspace or recreational facilities.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Land Restoration, was awarded $200,000 to assess properties along the historic U.S. Route 60 Midland Trail, which is a national scenic byway. The brownfields assessments will clarify environmental conditions and help facilitate reuse of selected locations for historical interpretive stops along the trail, with the goal of attracting tourists and tourism-related jobs to the area.
Dr. Tony Szwilski, director of CEGAS and the Brownfields Assistance Center, said the center continues to increase its role in assisting communities and counties across the state as they tackle the challenges of re-using brownfields properties for positive redevelopment.
“Since our inception in 2005, we’ve helped communities obtain close to $3 million in EPA brownfields and related funding,” he said. “These funds are making a significant difference in community revitalization by promoting economic development across central and southern West Virginia.”
A total of $800,000 was awarded statewide this year for EPA brownfields assessment grants.
More information is available online at www.wvbrownfields.com.
Dr. Tony Szwilski, Director, Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS), 304.696.5457
George Carico, Program Coordinator, Southern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, 304.696.5456
Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964