CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Due to the continued interest in the pilot phase of its newly established Dilapidated Properties Program, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) distributed a second online survey to county and municipal leaders across the state Wednesday to gather information and seek input as it works to expand the program.
The WVDEP sent out a second online survey to all 55 counties and 168 municipalities in West Virginia, including those who are already participating in the program, to get updated information about what each is doing or would like to do in dealing with dilapidated structures in their areas. The agency's initial questionnaire
went out in August of 2021.
Gov. Jim Justice announced
$9.2 million in grant funding for the 21 communities participating in the program's pilot phase in September.
The WVDEP is administering the funding, which will be provided as reimbursement for demolition projects and qualified associated expenses.
"We've received calls from county and local officials all over the state, expressing their interest in tearing down these structures to improve their communities," said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Harold Ward. "Because of this strong interest and the support of Gov. Justice, we are working to launch an expanded second phase of the program. To do that, we need to get an updated look at how communities are handling this issue and their needs"
Responses to the survey are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 6, 2023.
Counties or municipalities that have not received a link to the survey or that have questions about the program should contact REAP program director Sandy Rogers (Sandra.D.Rogers@wv.gov
, 1-800-322-5530) or John King (John.M.S.King@wv.gov
In 2021, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 368, which authorized the WVDEP to develop a statewide program to assist county commissions and municipalities remediate abandoned and dilapidated structures.
After months of extensive due diligence and a data-driven selection process, the WVDEP identified 21 communities to participate in the program's pilot phase.
Upon reviewing this data and selection process, Governor Justice requested the Legislature to approve a transfer from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund for the pilot program. That request resulted in the passage of Senate Bill 722 earlier this year, which transferred $10 million to the program.
Selected communities will have 12 months to spend up to their approved budgeted amount, with the possibility for a single six-month extension. No payments will be made until demolition work is completed and all required supportive documentation has been submitted.