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Charles Town mulls development

October 17, 2000

Charles Town mulls development



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - City officials here are considering a plan to redevelop sections of Charles Town that are predominantly made up of vacant commercial buildings and other vacant properties.

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The idea is being proposed by Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward, who wants the city to apply for a $250,000 federal grant to put together a redevelopment plan for the areas.

Ward said the city should consider redeveloping the properties because they no longer generate any taxes or jobs.

The properties, which are mostly along a railroad that runs through town, include a vacant property owned by CSX Transportation Inc., an old grainery, and other commercial buildings, Ward said.

There may be some toxic substances on the properties that would have to be cleaned up before the properties are converted to other uses, Ward said.

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Part of the purpose behind the redevelopment plan would be to identify any toxic substances on the properties and determine the cost of their cleanup, Ward said.

Redevelopment of such properties can often be put in jeopardy when it is not known how much it will cost to clean up toxic substances on properties, said Dave Simmons, spokesman for Brownfield Restoration Group in Frederick, Md.

Ward is proposing that Brownfield Restoration Group be paid $4,000 to put together a redevelopment plan. Brownfield would also be in charge of applying to the Environmental Protection Agency for the $250,000 grant, Ward said.

Under the plan, city officials could work with current owners of the properties to sell them to another entity. Or, the city could work with the property owners to help them redevelop them, Ward said.

Ward is proposing that the city split the $4,000 fee to Brownfield Restoration Group with Ranson, which may also be able to identify some vacant commercial buildings for redevelopment, Ward said.

Charles Town Council's finance committee is studying the proposal.

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