More ‘BAD’ buildings come down in Chester

Special to the Journal/Craig Howell Demolition crews worked to tear down the houses on Collins Memorial Drive.

CHESTER, W.Va. — Two dilapidated houses came down Thursday morning, as part of a continuing effort to address “B.A.D.” buildings in Hancock and Brooke counties.

Representatives of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and members of the Hancock County Commission gathered in Chester to watch as the houses at 1012 Collins Memorial Drive and 1014 Collins Memorial Drive came down.

Pat Ford, executive director of the BDC, explained the demolitions were made possible by a recent $20,000 contribution from Huntington Bank.

“All together, they’ve given $60,000,” Ford said.

It was part the BDC’s B.A.D. Program, started more than three years ago with guidance from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, with a goal of addressing structures in distress. “B.A.D.” stands for Brownfields, Abandoned and Dilapidated.

“There’s 12 houses we’ve targeted,” Ford explained.

Three of those structures have been in Chester, with three each also in Beech Bottom, Weirton, New Cumberland and Wellsburg.

“The money we got from Huntington will complete our ‘Dirty Dozen,'” Ford said, using a nickname for the group of houses.

The B.A.D. Program has its roots, Ford explained, in funding provided by the Hancock County Commission to redevelop the property of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery site in Chester. That property now is home to the Rock Springs Business Park.

Commissioners said it is good to see such work continue in the region.

“I’m glad to see the neighborhood getting cleaned up,” Commissioner Paul Cowey said, noting the buildings had become a safety hazard.

Ford said the BDC seeks input from residents in each community while selecting which buildings to have torn down through the program.