Wheeling to receive low-interest redevelopment loan from WV | West Virginia

(The Center Square) – A low-interest loan program will be used to fund the remediation and redevelopment of the former Penn-Wheeling Closure site in Wheeling, West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice announced.

Non-profit and local government borrowers will receive interest rates that range from 0% to 1.5%. Although the timetable for paying back the loan can be negotiated, its maximum is a 10-year loan repayment.

Wheeling recently acquired the site and will use funding to clean it up and make it ready to be redeveloped in the future. The funding will be provided through one of the Department of Environmental Protection’s newest funding programs, called the Brownfield Revolving Fund. The fund was established in 2020 to help clean up brownfields, which are contaminated by petroleum or other hazardous substances. The funds were made available through an $820,000 EPA grant.

“This program allows us to remove old buildings that are potentially harmful and replace them with something helpful instead,” Justice said in a statement. “I’m incredibly excited to get the ball rolling on this important program that could very well change the face of communities like Wheeling in a very positive way.”

Loan funds can be used for several aspects of the cleanup process, which includes excavating and removing contaminants, treating contaminated soil and groundwater, demolishing contaminated structures, managing stormwater runoff and establishing security measures to prevent trespassing, according to a news release. The funding can also be used for environmental consultants who oversee the cleanup, but can not be used to perform assessments prior to cleanup.

“The EPA Brownfields Program offers grants to nonprofit organizations, as well as state and local governments,” Casey Korbini, the WVDEP Deputy Director for Remediation Programs, said in a statement. “A lot of times, they might not have the assets to back a loan. Sometimes, banks are hesitant to issue a loan when it’s not for a building or an asset and it’s simply for site cleanup. So, when they can’t get a loan from a bank, we’re here to help them get a loan for redevelopment of a brownfield. We finally were able to make our first loan here to the City of Wheeling for this site and it’s a really exciting day for us.”

The structure had housed factory operations since the 1800s, but was acquired because of environmental issues. The structure has already been demolished and the debris has been removed.

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