CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — Three of seven huge West Virginia EPA grants are coming to Ohio Valley communities.
The 2021 Brownfields Multipurpose Assessment and Clean-up Grant Award Ceremony was Wednesday.
The City of Wheeling just received $360,000 to clean up three acres of riverfront property.
The Paden City Development Authority just received a grant of $500,000 to clean up the Paden City Industrial Park. And Belomar Regional Council will be seeing $600,000.
Wheeling’s site is a gravel lot, Robrecht Riverfront, just south of Heritage Port where Wheeling Creek feeds into the Ohio River.
Wheeling has dreams of a kayak launch and area for public art, but there’s contaminated ground.
The $360,000 will be used to cleanup fuel left over from where the B&O trains once sat years ago.
“Since 1970’s, when the railroad operation ceased, the sight has been used by trespassers for uncontrolled parking, waterway access, squatting and illegal activities,” said the EPA.
“The site really hasn’t been developed because of the environmental issues associated with it. Back in 2015 the Health Plan actually looked at putting their new building there but they ran into the same questions with environmental issues. It’s also in the flood plain. So, it really doesn’t make sense to build a new building there. So, we went to stage two to look at other options for it. Outdoor recreation makes a lot of sense. It’s a beautiful area once we clean it up.”Mayor Glenn Elliott, Wheeling
This is the first step of beautifying this downtown part of Wheeling. It will take additional grants and city funding to actually construct this outdoor rec.
The Brownfields grants promise a brighter future for the areas that previously could not be afforded the luxury of restoration. Paden City, Belomar and Wheeling leaders alike say they can’t wait for refurbishing to begin thanks to the EPA’s helping hand.