The 2023 West Virginia Brownfields and Main Street Conference hosted by EPA Region 3 Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) providers West Virginia University and Marshall University highlighted redevelopment projects in Wheeling, where EPA Brownfield Grant money has helped the community reimagine their downtown area. Wheeling is a city rooted in industry and was a center for glass-making in the 19th and 20th centuries. The conference reception in the “Glass Museum” displays examples of locally manufactured glass and provides the history and significance of the pieces.
The EPA’s grant writing workshop helped participants interested in applying for EPA Brownfields grants in the current FY24 cycle. The new grant recipient meeting, a requirement for all new grantees, brought together EPA Region 3 administrators, TAB providers, and grant recipients to encourage exchanging ideas and support for those navigating the complex programmatic requirements.
Mobile workshops offered opportunities for conference participants to experience first-hand the successes and challenges associated with brownfield properties. One mobile workshop included a downtown Wheeling tour highlighting the historic structures being repurposed thanks to Brownfields grants and historic tax credits. The Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle hosted a workshop consisting of a tour of three brownfield sites in nearby communities along the Ohio River and a discussion of the challenges associated with historic preservation and redevelopment.
The final “add-on” to the conference was the traditional Women in Brownfields breakfast. A panel of three accomplished women who live and work in Wheeling participated in a conversation about their experiences with brownfield properties and historic redevelopment. All three women either have renovated or are in the process of renovating historic structures in downtown Wheeling. While each woman had a unique background and association with the City of Wheeling, they shared the goal of creating a thriving community by redeveloping brownfields.
It is challenging to restore properties with a past, but you can do it on time and budget if you plan ahead to address contaminated historic fill. Follow these tips and use the brownfield redevelopment checklist to keep your next redevelopment on track.