BLUEFIELD, Va. — A $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will assist Bluefield on both sides of the state line with cleaning and redeveloping industrial and commercial sites.
Congressman Morgan Griffith’s, R-9th, office announced that the Brownfields Program awarded $600,000 to the city.
“The Brownfields Program assists local communities in cleaning up and redeveloping former industrial and commercial sites in preparation for new economic endeavors,” according to a written statement from Griffith. “This $600,000 grant will help Bluefield assess such locations in the area and plan for their recovery and reuse. These funds are a valuable aid to environmental restoration and economic growth in the Bluefield area.”
Bluefield Town Manager Mike Watson said the application process took nine months and involved Tazewell and Mercer counties as well as the two Bluefields.
Jim Spencer, Bluefield community and economic development coordinator, said the city will be seeing how many properties can be redeveloped and used for new projects.
Watson said the first step will be identifying the properties and determining if there is an environmental issue.
According to the EPA, the assessment grant includes $400,000 for hazardous substances and $200,000 for petroleum. Among the purposes the funds will be used for are environmental site assessments and preparing endangered species or cultural recovery surveys, cleanup plans, a downtown revitalization plan for the Town of Bluefield, site reuse assessments and a community involvement plan.
Watson said the town was awaiting guidelines and a timeline from the EPA before beginning the work.