In West Virginia, the town of Grafton‘s historic and industrial districts will soon be redeveloped by West Virginia University’s Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.
It’s an effort to both preserve local history and revitalize the community. The Center was recently awarded a $300,000 grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to jumpstart redevelopment of former industrial sites in West Virginia.
“For every dollar of brownfields grant funds invested in a project, approximately $17 in additional investment is attracted,” says Patrick Kirby, director of the Center.
“That means this $300,000 will help leverage over $5 million in private investment into West Virginia communities,” he predicted.
Grafton lies within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, created by the state to support growth in distressed communities.
Priority sites in Grafton include a former train depot, an old freight station, an abandoned glass factory, and a historic hotel.
The Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, a division of WVU’s Energy Institute. The Center promotes economic development and environmental and public health protection through the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
EPA brownfield grants support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities. The Center will use the money to conduct environmental assessments and reuse planning activities in 33 counties in the state.
Photo (courtesy of WVU) shows the historic Grafton Freight Station.