‘Dirty Dozen’ is demolished

BDC tears down former Call’s store structures

NO MORE — Demolition crews were on site Wednesday morning, tearing down the last part of the former Call’s Variety Store buildings in downtown New Cumberland. The demolition was part of the Business Development Corp’s B.A.D. Buildings program. -- Craig Howell

NEW CUMBERLAND — The last of the “Dirty Dozen” has come down.

Crews were on the scene Wednesday morning, finishing up the efforts of demolishing the former Call’s Variety Store buildings in New Cumberland.

The two buildings, which shared a common wall, were demolished as part of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle’s B.A.D. Buildings program, which is aimed at removing blight from Hancock and Brooke counties.

Using funds through a grant from Huntington Bank, the BDC had targeted 12 “brownfield, abandoned or dilapidated” buildings for removal, with a goal of encouraging redevelopment and beautification.

“This was the most challenging of all of them,” Pat Ford, executive director of the BDC, explained, noting, in addition to the shared wall between the two buildings, there also were common walls with two neighboring structures.

The demolition is more than three years in the making. The BDC purchased the Call’s buildings as part of an auction in September 2015, taking title to them in February 2016.

Hancock County Commissioner Joe Barnabei, while watching the demolition Wednesday morning, expressed his appreciation to the B.A.D. program and the opportunities this demolition could provide for downtown New Cumberland.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Barnabei said.

Barnabei said the BDC, county commission and New Cumberland city officials will be discussing possible projects for the property.

“There were a couple drawings,” Barnabei said, noting some of the proposed plans depended on the available size of property available.

Previous ideas have included the creation of a park or other greenspace.

“We are fortunate to have partners to continue to work with, so we can repurpose abandoned buildings in our communities,” New Cumberland Mayor Richard Blackwell stated.

The B.A.D. program was started more than three years ago, with guidance from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, with roots in the efforts to demolish and rehabilitate the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery in Chester. That land now is the home of the Rock Springs Business Park.

Through the B.A.D. program, and with input from the communities, structures have been torn down in Chester, Beech Bottom, Weirton, New Cumberland and Wellsburg.