WEIRTON — Development opportunities were on the mind of Weirton Council as part of its agenda Monday night.
Council unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the Weirton Area Reuse Plan, a multi-phase, multi-year plan focusing on efforts to redevelop portions of the north end of the city.
The plan was developed through the efforts of city officials, the Frontier Group of Companies, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the Thrasher Group and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.
Prior to passage, Ward 5 Councilwoman Flora Perrone asked for a review of what the W.A.R.P. entails, at which time Assistant City Manager DeeAnn Pulliam called on Pat Ford, business development director of Frontier, to provide an explanation.
Ford explained the plan was funded through a $100,000 allotment from the city, and $300,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, with a focus on approximately 1,100 acres sold by ArcelorMittal to the Frontier Group. The land now is referred to as Weirton Frontier Crossing.
“We believe in this city,” Ford said, explaining he believes the collaboration to create the W.A.R.P. will help to attract $2 billion in private investment and create in the neighborhood of 3,000 jobs in the community. “You give Weirton Frontier Crossing and the Frontier Group of Companies the leverage we need.”
Ford also thanked council for its leadership in the development of the W.A.R.P., saying it was created through a group effort.
“Not one person is responsible for that,” he said.
The Frontier Group is continuing its efforts to demolish many of the buildings which once stood on the property, clearing the land for potential future tenants. That includes the former site of the Weirton Steel Basic Oxygen Plant, the steelmaker’s railyard and adjacent facilities in the north end and Brown’s Island.
Also passed Monday was the first reading of an ordinance for a contract with James White Construction, at a cost of $2,653,565, for the infrastructure of the Park Drive development. Ward 6 Councilman Enzo Fracasso, announced he would be recusing himself from the vote, citing a personal connection to the contractor, and left the room.
Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh noted the city had been informed COVID relief funds could not be used for the project, so Tax Increment Financing funds would be used to cover increased costs associated with the project. The city established a TIF district in the area of the development approximately 15 years ago.
The Park Drive development was started through the efforts of Park Drive Development LLC and the Business Development Corp., with an entrance for the commercial and residential project to be located across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter. McKinley and Associates is serving as the main contactor.