Brownfields can be vibrant community assets again

Written by Patrick Kirby on . Posted in Media, News

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Beltline Area of Fairmont

A West Virginia University class and the City of Fairmont are working on plans to redevelop the Beltline area of Fairmont, which includes the Helmick property, with the help of the community. The Helmick property and most of the Beltline would be considered a “brownfield” area, abandoned and underutilized properties that impede the redevelopment of the community at large.

MORGANTOWN — One of the many ways West Virginia University pursues its landgrant mission to help make lives better in the state is through an aggressive program called the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, a project that helps communities revitalize blighted abandoned properties for new uses that lead to positive economic development.  As communities across West Virginia strive to revitalize through broad development efforts, many are faced with abandoned and underutilized properties that impede the redevelopment of the community at large.

These abandoned properties, or “brownfields,” vary in size and historical usage, ranging from as small as an old gas station to as large as a multiacre former glass factory.

Many of these blighted properties are contaminated, causing potential investors and developers to be wary of purchasing and rehabilitating the properties. Instead, they choose to develop on previously undeveloped sites, or “greenfields.”

WVU Institute partners with volunteers on “QUEST”

Written by WVU Today on . Posted in Media, News

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Brian Carlson

Brian Carlson, a WVU graduate student in wildlife and fisheries, searches for sediment inputs in Aaron’s Creek as part of Mon River Quest.

Mon River Quest isn’t the name of an upcoming Indiana Jones movie; it isn’t a board game you can find in the local toy store; and it isn’t the name of some kind of river geography quiz. Mon River Quest is a major West Virginia University -based initiative that is empowering hundreds of volunteers in an effort to keep an eye on thousands of miles of Monongahela River tributary streams so that any detected irregularities can be quickly monitored, traced and alleviated.

The project, funded by the Colcom Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based private foundation dedicated to fostering a sustainable environment, represents an unprecedented level of community involvement in pursuit of water quality information and a prime example of WVU’s outreach mission to make lives better by seeking ways to head off potential environmental problems.