Adapting, Reinvigorating Old Sites: Another key workshop goal

The revitalization of former factory sites, scrap yards and other dormant or under-utilized properties can be one of the most rewarding of community initiatives. Instead of allowing these “brownfield” sites to become eyesores, why not find a productive purpose for them, especially if their redesign can be integrated into a more comprehensive community plan?

Thanks to a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that’s exactly what Ranson and Charles Town and a team of consulting specialists have in mind as part of the weeklong public workshop that kicks off September 8.

For an overview of the workshop’s broader goals, check out the column to the immediate right. Follow the lead-up to the September 8 workshop launch by reading the posts preceding this one. And go here for a schedule of meetings and collaborative opportunities during the week.

“Ranson and Charles Town have a decade-long track record of partnering on brownfields clean-up and revitalization,” says Sean Garrigan of Stromberg/Garrigan & Associates. He’ll be the project director for the brownfields segment of the weeklong collaborative workshop.

“The results of the partnership have contributed to major transformations in the two communities,” says Garrigan. Most notable among them: The environmental clean-up of a former scrap yard, then the design and construction of the American Public University System’s 45,000-square-foot, highly energy efficient academic center on the former brownfield site.

“Now it’s time for the communities to update strategies to match changes in the economy, to take advantage of new job creation opportunities, to deploy green infrastructure innovations and to support comprehensive sustainable planning,” Garrigan says.

With help from an EPA pilot program grant of $150,000, Ranson and Charles Town and the planners, engineers and designers on the consulting team will be collaborating with the community to target six brownfield sites for revitalization during the September 8-14 workshop. Read about the EPA grant and the brownfields project goals here (.pdf).

In Ranson, the targeted sites are the shuttered Kidde/Powhatan Brass Foundry, the former Miller Chemical facility and the vacant AB&C warehouse. In Charles Town, the former Peoples Supply complex, a vacant parcel located between E. North Street and the CSX railroad tracks, and portions of the Charles Town Public Works Yard are on the study list. The map below lays it out.

Ranson’s brownfields planning is funded through a new U.S. EPA pilot grant program which awarded us $150,000 to apply to six targeted areas. Click for larger view.

           

All of the targeted areas are located adjacent to or are within existing neighborhoods. So they’re already on the radar for community revitalization and represent opportunities for redevelopment in harmony with community character. Enhancing economic vitality and elevating the quality-of-life for residents are fundamental goals of the upcoming workshop. So identifying ways that turn what are currently detractors into redevelopment opportunities that reinforce those goals will be a major contribution.

Join us for the week of idea testing and planning. Check out the schedule for opportunities to participate in person. And follow us here on these web pages. We’ll be posting news each day during the workshop from September 9 through the closing presentation.