A Community Thrives: New Social Impact Grant Program

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A Community Thrives is a new approach to social impact programs that was developed through a collaboration across the entire USA TODAY NETWORK. While most initiatives designate funds or give support to great charities, we’re going to instead fund and support great ideas. The volunteering begins with you pitching your creative solutions to solving our communities’ most critical needs.

We are very encouraged by the participation in ACT and the ideas many of you submitted. This is our first year and we would love to have more participation. We want to allow enough time for the word to spread about ACT and to have a pool of submissions for each category. So we’re extending the Entry Period to March 31st and the Voting Period will run beginning April 12th and ending May 12th.

Learn more about this funding opportunity here.

Making BAD Buildings Good Again: West Virginia communities display best efforts to tackle dilapidated building issues

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Photo Credit: Kailee Gallahan (The Exponent Telegram)


Though West Virginia is known for its peaceful and serene country scenery, nestled in several of its mountains are communities fighting blighted and dilapidated structures that significantly damage that pristine image.

“Honestly, it’s been an issue for a long time,” said Luke Elser, project manager of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. “In West Virginia, it feels like a lot of communities and the citizens themselves have begun to address this by saying, ‘This problem needs to be solved, and we need to solve it as a community.’”

Read the full article at The Exponent Telegram.

EDITORIAL: Cities Face Complex Issues in Rehabilitating Structures

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Photo Credit: Brittany Murry (The Exponent Telegram)

Editorial from The Exponent Telegram: While our state lawmakers continue to meet in Charleston each day to discuss answers to the dire question of how to fill the gaping budget gap, our mayors and community leaders wake up each morning, look out their windows and wonder how to make their neighborhoods a little better.

Read the full article at The Exponent Telegram.

Upcoming WV Economic Development Webinars

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The International Economic Development Council brings you this series of six trainings in partnership with the WV Community HUB and its five Innovation Acceleration Strategy communities, made possible by funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Preserving our Stories – Opportunities for Heritage Tourism
Date: March 23, 2017, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Price: Free

Take advantage of assistance readily available to you, while also learning how to influence and shape projects in your region. You’ll hear how to partner with regional, state and federal authorities to accomplish your goals. This webinar will show you how to use available technical assistance that can help you advance your objectives.

Maximizing the use of Federal and State Tools for Economic Development

Date: March 23, 2017, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Price: Free

Take advantage of assistance readily available to you, while also learning how to influence and shape projects in your region. You’ll hear how to partner with regional, state and federal authorities to accomplish your goals. This webinar will show you how to use available technical assistance that can help you advance your objectives.

Click here to register for these webinars through IEDC.

Dollar Amount Put on Cost of Blight to Neighbors

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Former abandoned train depot

That foreclosed house on your street with the chipped paint and boarded-up windows — it’s ugly, sure, but how much does it cost? The answer is surprisingly complex, drawing from municipal budgets as well as the private market, and it’s the topic of a new report led by urban economist Aaron Klein. Bottom line: The vacant house next door is a financial burden on its neighbors, whose housing values drop as it stays unoccupied, and often on the coffers of local police and fire departments as well.

Click here to read the full article on Next City.

CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program

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CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program

Brownfields Project Marketplace

What is the Marketplace? The Marketplace is FREE brownfields financing technical assistance. The Marketplace was created with an understanding that it’s often difficult to bring the public- and private- sectors together in the same place, and harder still to have each engage in an open discussion about brownfield projects. The Marketplace is an open forum that connects communities looking to finance brownfield redevelopment projects with development financiers and brownfield project experts. Through the Marketplace, communities can engage in open discussion with experts, get answers to their financing questions, and come away with a better understanding of the resources available for their redevelopment projects.

Learn more at the CDFA website here.

Foundation works to give new life to old buildings

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Vandalia

While the Vandalia Heritage Foundation was first formed in 1998, the organization remains as passionate as ever in its attempts to revitalize buildings in the area.

Having this organization, which primarily focuses on northern West Virginia, gives individuals and communities interested in preserving their historic buildings and cultural heritage some recourse, said Laura Kuhns, president and chief executive officer.

“Vandalia was about taking a proactive approach to acquiring and preserving historic properties in northern West Virginia, some of which were mothballed for future redevelopment,” Kuhns said. “Others have taken years, and some are still in the works.”

Helping historic buildings and districts adapt to the modern age is important for many reasons, said Brooks McCabe, a commercial real estate developer who works closely with the Vandalia Heritage Foundation. Read more here!

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20161127/foundation-works-to-give-new-life-to-old-buildings

Three New Developments To Watch Along The Ohio River

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Shell

Shell faced questions this week at local and state hearings over the new petrochemical plant it plans to build northwest of Pittsburgh. Local officials asked the company about air and water pollution from the plant—as well as how noise, light and traffic will impact the surrounding communities.

Some nearby residents are concerned about how all these issues will impact their property values. But for commercial real estate in the region, one expert says Shell is bringing, if not a tidal wave, at least a “rising tide” of development. Dan Adamski, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate firm that represented Shell in purchasing the Beaver County site along the Ohio River, says the company chose this spot for a simple reason. “[It’s] primarily because of what’s underneath us—the Marcellus Shale. They like the location on the Ohio River.” Read more here!

http://wesa.fm/post/three-new-developments-watch-along-ohio-river#stream/0