Partnership in the News: West Virginia recognized for Brownfields Redevelopment

Ranson and Charles Town, West Virginia were recently recognized for their joint brownfields redevelopment efforts at the National Brownfields Conference in Atlanta on May 16, 2013.  The cities were awarded a Phoenix Award for Excellence in Brownfield Redevelopment in recognition of the ongoing redevelopment of the Ranson & Charles Town Commerce Corridor, a 1.5 mile former industrial stretch of land across both cities. Between the two cities, the corridor is marked by at least 15 significant brownfields sites.

Photograph courtesy JimmyWayne (via Flickr)
Photograph courtesy JimmyWayne (via Flickr)

“The fact that we were recognized for the Phoenix Award puts Ranson and Charles Town on the map,” said Ranson City Manager David Mills. Charles Town City Manager Joe Cosentini added, “It emphasizes that all we tried to do in the last 10 years contributing to revitalization was worth it.” The corridor was recognized as the preeminent brownfields effort in a region that includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Ranson and Charles Town began revitalization efforts for the Commerce Corridor in 2001, partnering with a local environmental consulting firm. Since the project’s inception, major brownfields sites in both cities have been redeveloped into valuable community assets. An exemplary redevelopment of Ranson’s former Maytag Spray Painting/Dixie Narco plant transformed the distressed, vacant property into the Ranson Civic Center. The new facility houses the Ranson Parks and Recreation Commission, and functions as a venue for athletic events, social functions,
trade shows and job fairs.

Ranson and Charles Town’s revitalization efforts have benefitted from the generous support of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities’s federal grants. The Partnership is a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both cities in West Virginia received a HUD Community Challenge grant, a DOT TIGER II Planning grant, and a EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant to help the cities effectively utilize the funding they received from the EPA’s Brownfields program. With these grants, Ranson and Charles Town created an exemplary model of revitalization for communities across the nation. Along with the Phoenix award, the Commerce Corridor also received the conference’s People’s Choice Award, voted on by over 3,000 conference attendees. “It’s a recognition that what we are doing is hard work,” said Cosentini.

The Partnership helps communities across the country grow in economically vibrant ways. If you want to see more projects like this happen, speak out to support the Partnership today.