Originally published by WTOV 9 FOX
January 24, 2018
By Sean Eiler
HANCOCK COUNTY, W. Va. — The 1,300 acres of former Weirton Steel property is now a blank canvas for contractors to design. The Frontier Group purchased that land from Arcelormittal.
With the help of the Business Development Corporation, they are accepting bids from consultants to come up with a master plan for what was once a thriving steel mill.
When Weirton Steel was in its prime, it was a site to behold.
“This was a company town, and Weirton Steel had 14,000 employees,” said Weirton Mayor Harold Miller. “It was the largest employer, and largest taxpayer in the state of West Virginia for a number of years.”
Mayor Miller was one of those 14,000 employees.
“I would go into the sheet mill, the strip steel, tin mill, coke plant (and) everywhere there was a railroad car,” Mayor Miller said.
When the mill went under, it was like a punch in the gut to community.
“It’s depressing and sickening, because it was such a vibrant town, and it contributed so much to the economy and the surrounding communities,” Mayor Miller said.
Better days are on the horizon. With 13,000 acres under The Frontier Group’s ownership the land is being repurposed for development.
“There is no other piece of property that anyone is going to find between Parkersburg and Monaca of this size. No one’s gonna find it,” said Weirton City Manager Travis Blosser. “We know we’re gonna have to do certain things in order to make this site competitive, and to bring those people in here, and we’re ready to do that. We just need to know the path forward to make it happen.”
Which is why the Business Development Corporation is now accepting bids from consultants to devise a plan, mapping out acre by acre how the property should be set up most effectively, and efficiently.
“What size of buildings. Where those buildings should be located. Where the roads should be. Where should we extend water and sewer?” said BDC Executive Director Pat Ford.
Times and the landscape are changing, but Mayor Miller had a message for his former Weirton Steel coworkers.
“They left a legacy,” he said. “They need to know their work here is completed, but we’re not finished, and we’re going to continue to build in the city of Weirton.”
The deadline for consultants to submit their plans for the property is Feb. 23.
Consultants interested can contact Business Development Corporation Executive Director Pat Ford at (304) 748-5041.
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