Input sought in Brooke Glass efforts

WELLSBURG – State and regional officials hoping to redevelop the former site of the Brooke Glass factory for new businesses would like to hear from the public at a June 12 meeting.

Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Development Center, has announced the input will be sought through the formation of a Grants and Opportunities – or G.O. – Team and anyone interested in participating or learning more should attend the hour-long meeting at 6 p.m. at the Wellsburg Salvation Army Service Center at 401 Commerce St.

The center has been working with the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle in pursuing rehabilitation of the site.

Working with the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, the center secured a $5,000 grant from the Claude W. Benedum Foundation for a Phase 1 environmental assessment of the site. Such assessments involve a review of records kept, a preliminary physical study of a site and research into written record of its past use.

In April the BDC and the Pittsburgh-based Riverside Center for Innovation announced they were awarded a $370,000 grant from the foundation for the development of 14 sites in Brooke and Hancock counties and Western Pennsylvania.

BDC Executive Director Pat Ford said the money may be used for local matches required of grants needed to conduct Phase 2 assessments.

Phase 2 assessments involve the collection and analysis of soil samples.

The BDC has applied for a $75,000 grant for a Phase 2 assessment of the Brooke Glass site.

Ford said such grants make it possible to redevelop former industrial sites where cleanup costs are too daunting to private investors.

The site has been unused since the factory closed its doors in 2004. Built in 1897, it had been operated by four companies over a period of more than 90 years, producing various types of glass.

Marvin Six, assistant director of the BDC, said various chemicals used to produce glass in different colors are among hazardous materials that may have to be removed from the building.

He and Ford provided members of Leadership Weirton a tour of the facility Monday.

As they stepped across creaky wooden floors and peered up at the building’s wooden rafters, the two said there are plans to demolish the facility because of its aging condition.

But Ford said when the building is razed, a 2-acre site, including a vacant lot across from it on Sixth Street, will become available for a potential new business.

He said its close proximity to a major roadway – state Route 2 – is among its selling points.