Funds to assist with B.A.D. buildings

HUNTINGTON ASSISTS BDC — Taking part in a presentation Wednesday of $20,000 from Huntington Bank to the Business Development Corp. are, from left, BDC Executive Director Pat Ford, BDC Board Chair Bill D’Alessio, BDC Board member Joe Paolo, Mark McKeen of Huntington Bank, Barata Bey of Huntington Bank, Hancock County Commissioner Paul Cowey and New Cumberland Mayor Richard Blackwell. The funds will assist in the removal of blighted residential properties in the area. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle is receiving some additional aid in tackling some B.A.D. buildings in the area.

On Wednesday, the BDC accepted a contribution of $20,000 from Huntington Bank to go toward a program aimed at battling blight throughout Hancock and Brooke counties. For three years, the B.A.D. program — which stands for Brownfields, Abandoned and Dilapidated — has worked to address issues with such structures in local communities.

BDC Executive Director Pat Ford said, unlike some larger metropolitan areas, communities in the Ohio Valley don’t have large pots of funding available to tackle areas of blight, making support such as Huntington Bank’s donation vital in cleaning up local towns.

“We don’t have that entitlement,” Ford said. “There’s no one giving us these funds.”

The B.A.D. building program has its roots, Ford explained, in the efforts to redevelop the property of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery in Chester. While grants and other monetary sources are available to fund brownfield cleanup sites, Ford said, residential sites were not considered.

As part of the program, which has addressed properties in Chester, New Cumberland, Weirton, Follansbee, Wellsburg, Beech Bottom and Bethany, the BDC works with residents and government officials to decide what properties need addressed.

“We work with a neighborhood task force to identify priorities,” Ford said.

This latest contribution will assist with properties in Hancock County, with demolition of one such site in Chester, slated to begin later this week.

Ford said it will take time to address all such structures

“It’s taken generations to create the problems,” Ford said. “It’s not going to be solved overnight.”

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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