BHJ Brownfields Task Force Meeting Update

BHJ Brownfields Task Force Meeting Update

Steve Maguschak, Sue Simonetti, and Mike Paprocki review current BHJ Brownfield site list.

The Brooke Hancock Jefferson Brownfield Coalition Task Force held its first quarterly meeting of 2018 on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Local leaders, development officials, and members of the Department of Environmental Protection make up the task force, which was formed to review projects and drive forward redevelopment solutions for brownfields in the tri-county area. The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the Jefferson County Port Authority and BHJ are the three sponsoring organizations of the coalition.

Currently there are 51 sites in the region that have been identified as eligible for brownfields assistance. In the past few years, both the BDC and BHJ have applied for, and secured, grants from the USEPA, giving the task force access to $1.2M to assist with site assessment and cleanup.

The focus of the first meeting was to review the list of properties that have completed, or are in the process of completing, hazardous material assessments. Once assessments are completed and any hazardous materials are identified, sites can move toward obtaining clean-up grant assistance. The goal of these steps being that a site is considered remediated and can be put on the market for redevelopment with a clean bill of health.

Because manufacturing and economic development have been topics of national interest, representatives from Congressman David McKinley’s office and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s office were also present at the meeting. Rep. McKinley recently sponsored legislation that would allocate more federal dollars for brownfield cleaning, specifically citing the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia as a success story for the brownfields program.

The group was also reminded to save the date for the West Virginia Brownfields Conference, which will be Sept. 5-7 in Charleston.

The next meeting of the Brownfields Task Force will be at 12 p.m. March 14, at the BHJ office.