The Huntington Brownfields Innovation Zone (H-Biz) Plan is one of the components of the Huntington Innovation Project or HIP Plan which won the $3 million grand prize in the America’s Best Communities national competition. The winnings were awarded to the Foundation for the Tri-State Community as steward of the funds which are designated only for the HIP Plan projects. The ABC funds will be used to leverage other dollars to carry out this and the other HIP projects. To date, over $26,000,000 additional dollars have been leveraged for this project.
The H-Biz Plan is designed to acquire, remediate and redevelop over 50 acres of former industrial brownfields land between 5th Avenue and the Ohio River near 23rd Street. The redevelopment will be led by Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) and in partnership with Marshall University State of West Virginia, Huntington Area Development council (HADCO), Region 2 Planning and Development and private business. It will include research, advanced manufacturing facilities, athletic facilities and other amenities in a campus-like setting.
Key initiatives involve the following:
- Acquisition and clean-up of the ACF and Flint properties with adjacent properties being redeveloped privately. Applying for additional EPA grant funds
- New job creation and job retention for expanding businesses
- A redevelopment of the property to include a baseball stadium, academic facilities, faculty housing, research and advanced manufacturing facilities working symbiotically with Marshall University all in a walkable park/campus setting with connections to the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH)
- Re-designing streets within the development to create the most seamless movement possible while meshing with Marshall University and the Highlawn neighborhood.
- The development of streetscaping and traffic calming for 3rd Avenue and redeveloped street grids
Most Recent Progress
ACF Industries property
Huntington was awarded $600,000 dollars in EPA grants to do Phase I assessments on the property and to create an area-wide plan for redevelopment. The plan has been completed and assessments finalized. Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) has acquired the property and is now engaged in the environmental testing and remediation of the property including removing equipment and some structures. EPA has granted another $350,000 in assessment funds in 2020 along with $700,000 of loan/grant funds designated for clean-up.
Marshall University Baseball Stadium – Flint Property
HMDA and Marshall, with support from the ABC Fund of the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, and other financing, completed the acquisition of eight acres of the Flint site where Marshall University will build the baseball stadium. The goal of the MU baseball facility is to provide a home for Marshall Baseball, to enhance the player and fan experience and to meet the NCAA requirements for hosting regional and super-regional events. Plans include 3,500 seats including 500 club seats, locker rooms and a lounge in the team clubhouse, Coaches’ offices with a lounge, team merchandise store and concession stands. Environmental testing and remediation has begun. Construction drawings are complete and value engineering has begun.
The remaining Flint property on the south side of 5th Avenue has been purchased by a private entity for redevelopment.
The ACF Industries property was formerly a rail car manufacturing and repair complex first launched in 1872 with financing from Collis P. Huntington, which was acquired by HMDA in January 2020 from Icahn Enterprises. Its 42 acres includes 5 acres south of 3rd Avenue (“ACF Parking”) and 37 acres north of 3rd Avenue up to the Ohio River (“ACF Factory”). The site was purchased with support from the state, through a WV EDA direct loan provided in 2019.
Happy Healthy Highlawn
Happy Healthy Highlawn is one of the components of the Huntington Innovation Project or HIP Plan which won the $3 million grand prize in the America’s Best Communities national competition. The winnings were awarded to the Foundation for the Tri-State Community as steward of the funds which are designated only for the HIP Plan projects. The ABC funds will be used to leverage other dollars to carry out this and the other HIP projects. To date, over $82,000 additional dollars have been leveraged for this project.
The Highlawn Alliance was formed to serve as a catalyst for recreating and remarketing the Highlawn neighborhood as Happy Healthy Highlawn by leveraging community resources to help revitalize this distressed neighborhood.
Key Initiatives involve the following:
- Formation of the Highlawn Alliance
- Employ an individual to lead the initiative
- Develop safe routes to schools, bike paths and walkability
- Make fresh fruits and vegetables available for the neighborhood working with The Wild Ramp
- Prayer walks in the neighborhood
- Working in partnership with the City to enhance infrastructure including green stormwater management, pedestrian level lighting, etc.
- Improve education and job training
- Encourage initiatives and activities that lead to economic development
- Celebrate the history of Highlawn through beautification, art, and culture
- Empowering the neighborhood to help navigate and determine the future of their community
- Create a culture of trust and interdependence between residents, businesses, civic entities, non-profits, schools, hospital system, faith communities, and government entities.
- Work with local marketing agency on rebranding plan for the Highlawn community
Most Recent Progress
- Plans in place for a strategic planning session for the Highlawn Alliance
- Raised $50,000 and constructed a house for Habitat for Humanity
- Confirmed $30,000 from Park District to construct roof over McClelland park Picnic Shelter
- Progress on raising funds for the new school playground for Highlawn Elementary
- Reviewing Marshall University’s bike plan and working on integrating it into the Highlawn neighborhood
- Hosted Highlawn Thanksgiving worship service with over 200 in attendance and $1,000 raised for backpack ministry at Highlawn Elementary
- Launched the Highlawn Garden Club
- Identified location by the new school for an asphalt art project if grant funding becomes available.
- The Wild Ramp operating in summer months with a food truck in parking lots of neighborhood churches with volunteers
- Mobilized community around art through “street art” in the rise of COVID-19
- Provided a “Walking Holy Week” to promote spiritual and physical health during COVID-19
- Developing a plan for drive in movies to promote community building during social isolation
MOST RECENT PROGRESS
Happy Healthy Highlawn
The process is underway to create a WV nonprofit with 501c3 status to be called Highlawn Community Alliance, Inc. The Alliance has adopted a vision, mission statement and core values and an initial strategic plan. Board members have been selected and a search committee formed which will begin the process of seeking an executive director.
HMDA is working with a demolition company to plan for demolition of unusable structures, and potentially the entire complex, depending on market potential and tax credit feasibility for rehabilitation of three to four potentially usable buildings.
HMDA has secured a $400,000 grant + $300,000 loan (0% for 5 years) from the City of Huntington capitalized by an $800,000 EPA Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund the city secured in 2018, which will be used on environmental cleanup and asbestos abatement.
KYOVA/WV DOT have dedicated $250,000 in transportation grant funding for design and engineering of a complete street upgrade to both sides of 3rd Avenue between 22nd-24th Streets (i.e. ACF area). Would be used to design entry/access points into both ACF parcels, sidewalks, streetscapes, lighting, landscaping, signage, stormwater management, and other improvements. Potential for KYOVA to fund 80% of construction costs in future grant.
Huntington will seek WV IAC funding to upgrade 24th Street along the Stadium & ACF area to ensure truck freight passage to existing and future industries, and potentially to match KYOVA funding for the road upgrades described in #3.
HMDA is now applying for $300,000 grant to U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) for funding for a comprehensive set of plans, designs, engineering, and cost estimation to upgrade the Administrative Building and the Machine Shop, and the surrounding site (parking, stormwater, access, etc.) for reuse by technology-focused businesses.
a. ACF Parking Lot has been determined to be free of contamination and ready for redevelopment. HMDA is entertaining an option agreement for potential mixed-use retail/residential that would be compatible with baseball/football/basketball/softball sports uses.
b. Initial environmental assessment of the ACF Factory area shows promising results, with very little contamination that would interfere with development. HMDA is preparing to deploy additional EPA Assessment funding in October 2020 to complete environmental investigations, and has entered the site into the WV DEP Voluntary Remediation Program.
c. HMDA has commenced coordination with the WV SHPO regarding potential reuse and rehabilitation of three to four buildings utilizing state/federal Historic Tax Credits, and demolition of non-functional/non-useable structures.
The award money, as well as any funds donated from individuals/businesses/organizations, is given to the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, our region’s community foundation that controls the allocation of the funds to the projects as required by competition parameters.
Donations may also be made by check. Please make payable to The Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc. and mail to:
Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc.
916 5th Avenue, Suite 403
P.O. Box 7932
Huntington, WV 25779-7932
Please put "ABC Fund" as well as the specific project name in the memo line.