WVU to embark on historic preservation initiative in Grafton

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WVU to embark on historic preservation initiative in Grafton
The historic freight station in Grafton is among the city properties slated for rehabilitation. (Photo courtesy WVU)

Historic Grafton, West Virginia, once an important hub on the Baltimore & Ohio Railway, will enjoy a boost in economic viability, according to officials at .

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Several historic and industrial districts in the community of some 5,000 residents, will be redeveloped by the university's Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, according to director Patrick Kirby.

The investment by the center is an effort to preserve local history and revitalize the community, made possible by a $300,000 grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to jumpstart the redevelopment of former industrial sites in West Virginia.

“For every dollar of brownfields grant funds invested in a project, approximately $17 in additional investment is attracted,” Kirby said.

“That means this $300,000 will help leverage over $5,000,000 in private investment into West Virginia communities.”

Grafton lies within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, a district created by the state to support growth in distressed communities.

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Priority sites include a former train depot, an old freight station, an abandoned glass factory, and a historic hotel.

The center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, a division of WVU’s Energy Institute, and promotes economic development and environmental and public health protection through the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

Brownfield grants through the Environmental Protection Agency support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities.

The center will use the money to conduct environmental assessments and reuse planning activities in 33 counties in the state.

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