August 11, 2015 by WTRF Channel 7 News
Chester, W.Va. – Community leaders throughout Brooke and Hancock Counties all have one thing in common: they want something done about the amount of abandoned and dilapidated buildings that are saturating their towns.
As a first step in combating this problem, leaders attended a summit at Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack.
Every town up and down the Ohio River has a problem with homes that are either sitting vacant or are in a state of disrepair.
Something needs to be done, so they’re reaching out to the Bad Buildings Program to provide them with technical assistance and site analysis tools to develop and enhance these properties.
Mayor Sue Simonetti of Wellsburg was in attendance.
“I’m here at this Bad Building Summit just to learn and gain information as to how we can move forward with our redevelopment authority, we are in the process of having a redevelopment plan for the city of Wellsburg, and we need to know how to move forward with the buildings we do select.”
The Bad Buildings Program helps cities throughout the state, such as Wellsburg, to address barriers such as identifying, prioritizing, and redeveloping properties.
Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center Program Manager Luke Elser said that “Every town can benefit from having these properties returned to some kind of productive use, be it a new family coming in, a new park being built, a new library being built, or a new business locating.”
No stranger to dilapidated buildings and vacant houses is New Cumberland, where Mayor Linda McNeil says ordinances are being enforced to combat this issue.
“The big challenge for us is to have our residents understand these are not meant to be punitive, they’re meant to be helpful.”
Mayor McNeil also says that they would like very much to have input from residents for how they can help take care of property.
Throughout the day, city leaders met in groups to discuss their issues, planning and networking, and codes and ordinances.
CONTACT: Luke Elser; BAD Buildings Program