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Bluefield WV EDA receives $452,292 from US EPA to abate downtown 300-400 block

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

view of a west virginia downtown settings
View of the 400-Block | Photo by BEDA Staff Savannah Carabin

Bluefield, WV The 2021 Brownfields Multipurpose Assessment and Clean-up (MAC) Grant Award Event honored the Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA) and 6 other West Virginia communities this afternoon. BEDA has been awarded $452,292 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abate the environmental concerns inside the 300-400 block of Federal Street in the Downtown Commercial Historic District; the biggest concern being the asbestos inside of these buildings. The EPA funds will be leveraged with a local match from the Hugh I. Shott Foundation.

"It is rewarding to see this project come to fruition. Bluefieldians have been waiting for an answer as to how to proceed with these structures, and the abatement of environmental concerns is the perfect first step," regarded BEDA Chairman Bill Cole.

The Brownfield Site consists of seven adjacent buildings located in the 300-400 block of Federal Street in downtown Bluefield, WV. The Site encompasses an approximately 0.99-acre area including seven buildings, which are part of Bluefield’s Downtown Commercial Historic District. The buildings include the 41,800 square feet Coal & Coke Building at 320 Federal Street (2 buildings, now combined), the 10,350 square feet former Armed Forces Recruiting Center Building at 403-405 Bland Street, the 10,625 square feet former Deaton’s Music World Building at 400-406 Federal Street, the 5,250 square feet A.J. Hearn Building at 407 Bland Street, the 8,600 square feet Ritz Building at 412 Federal Street, and the 36,120 square feet J.C. Penny Building at 418 Federal Street. The Site is located immediately across the street from West Virginian Manor.

"These structures have been a concern for our citizens and Bluefield's future. It is a direct complement to all of the hard work BEDA and the City have been accomplishing to revitalize the City of Bluefield," stated Mayor and BEDA Board Member Ron Martin.

An initial asbestos inspection was performed by Cardno which was part of the City’s Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant received from the EPA in 2019. Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were found at numerous locations throughout the seven buildings. In October 2020, a draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) was prepared to address the cleanup/abatement of approximately 4,350 cubic yards of ACM in the seven buildings.

BEDA will contract with qualified asbestos abatement contractors to complete the abatement activities and will rely on qualified brownfields consultants to complete the required plans and assist with oversight and monitoring. At the conclusion of abatement activities, the selected brownfield consultant will collect confirmation samples to ensure all ACM have been properly removed. The consultant will submit all documentation to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and EPA to certify the completion of the abatement activities.

BEDA Executive Director Jim Spencer spoke during the award event and thanked Mr. Cole, Mayor Martin, Region One PDC Executive Director Jason Roberts, BEDA Staff Savannah Carabin and Faith Blackwell, and the BEDA board for their efforts and dedication to the City of Bluefield's revitalization. In addition, he expressed his appreciation for the EPA's involvement in numerous projects. Spencer quoted BEDA's three-prong approach to economic development and conveyed his excitement for plans to redevelop the Downtown Commercial Historic District.

Savannah Carabin, Business Operations & Marketing Coordinator (


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