The Brooke-Hancock Region IX Regional Planning & Development Council (BH) has received a highly competitive 2020 US Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant. The award will benefit Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia and Jefferson County in Ohio.
The grant of $600,000, the maximum award allowed, will assist in the environmental assessment and eventual repurposing of potentially contaminated properties within the coalition area of Brooke, Hancock, and Jefferson counties. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 11 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments, inventory and select sites for assessment activities, and develop nine cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on target areas in the Cities of Weirton and Wellsburg in West Virginia, and the City of Steubenville and Village of Mingo Junction in Ohio. The target areas in the City of Weirton and Mingo Junction are located in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include the Frontier Crossings site in Weirton, the JSW Steel USA Ohio site in Mingo Junction, and the Town Square in Wellsburg.
Coalition partners are the Jefferson County Port Authority and the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle. The coalition has created a successful redevelopment program. Dating back to 2016, the coalition has received three USEPA Brownfield Assessment Coalition grants; two (FY16 & 19) granted to BDC and one (FY17) granted to BH. In just a 3-year period, they have used these grants to inventory and assess over 35 properties, made more than 360 acres of vacant-contaminated land ready for anticipated use, stimulated 240 jobs, and leveraged over $30 million in additional public and private cleanup and capital investments.