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Fairmont and Clarksburg Get Federal Funding to Assess Sites for Cleanup and Redevelopment

Release Date: 7/21/2005
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548
FAIRMONT, W.Va.. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded $400,000 to the city of Fairmont, and $80,000 to the city of Clarksburg to revitalize industrial sites that may be contaminated with hazardous materials. These Brownfield grants are used to transform problem properties into community assets.

“Restoring brownfields to productive use brings enormous benefits to local communities. Experience has shown that every dollar of federal money spent on brownfields leverages about two-and-a-half dollars in private investment, and every acre of brownfields that is restored saves more than 4.5 acres of green space,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic region.

Fairmont is receiving two $200,000 brownfields assessment grants. A $200,000 hazardous substances grant will be used to conduct community outreach activities, inventory and rank sites, perform environmental site assessments, and develop remedial alternatives and cost estimates for one or two parcels. An additional $200,000 petroleum grant will be used to conduct similar activities and develop remedial alternatives and cost estimates for four to six additional sites that may be contaminated with petroleum.

The city has focused its redevelopment efforts in what is called the Beltline area of the city, which derives its name from the old B&O rail line that once served the industrial district, that stretched from 3rd Street to 12th Street along the Monongahela River.

Beginning in the early 1900s, the area was home to industries including: Monongahela Glass Company, the Fairmont Box Plant, Fairmont Wall Plaster and the Fairmont Mining Machine Company, most of which have left the area. While the area has seen some new industries move in, large tracts of property remain vacant. The Marion County Commission, board of education and the City of Fairmont developed the Beltline Redevelopment Master Plan, a four-phase project to revitalize the area.

"The City of Fairmont, West Virginia DEP, and the EPA have partnered successfully on many projects, transitioning marginal sites into productive areas within our community. We are thankful for past cooperation with these entities, and we are hopeful for similar success with future projects," said Nick Fantasia, Mayor of Fairmont.

Clarksburg is receiving an $80,000 brownfields cleanup grant to clean up hazardous substances at the West Virginia Mack property at Ohio Avenue & North 4th Street. Funds will be used to develop final cleanup specifications and remove mostly lead-contaminated soils and other materials from the property. Funds also will be used to conduct community involvement activities. The site has been used for heavy industry, including a forge, machine shops, iron works, a garage, a truck repair shop, and a commercial salvage yard since the early 1900s.

"This award follows a previous EPA award for environmental site assessment and will help clean up a large parcel of land for economic development – a parcel of land which probably would not have been developed otherwise,” said Clarksburg Mayor Sam Lopez.

EPA has awarded communities in 44 states more than $75 million in EPA brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites..

Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

Nationwide, EPA's brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties.