Legacy costs an obstacle to progress

The Business Development Corp., it recently was reported, was fined $75,000 by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection because of some remaining contamination at the Beech Bottom Industrial Park.

The BDC has owned the site — previously the home of Wheeling Corrugating — since November 2012.

Much of the contamination in question was the result of remaining zinc found in the soil as a result of the site’s previous operations.

BDC officials, for their part, noted this kind of fine has simply become part of doing business when it comes to redevelopment, especially the redevelopment of former industrial sites known as brownfields.

Dealing with such “legacy” issues apparently is among the reasons we rarely see private developers get involved in such brownfield sites.

It is overly time consuming, and often too costly. Regulations become burdensome. Instead of trying to rdevelop the site, it can become easier to just let it sit, languishing and unused.

Since purchasing the property with assistance from Hackman Capital just over five years ago, the BDC has been working steadily to clean up the property, removing contaminants of various types and taking additional precautions for the future, all while working to attract new business prospects.

In fact, the economic development agency, to date, has invested more than $1 million in their cleanup efforts. Some of that funding has even come from the DEP, which has been following the BDC’s efforts on numerous projects in our area.

We understand fines are going to be doled out, and should be when appropriate. It is, after all, just part of doing this kind of business. However, we would hope state and federal officials would be more mindful when visible progress is taking place.

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