augusta free press news

DEQ, Blue Ridge Development Center, partner on brownfields project

Virginia DEQThe Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Brownfields Program recently provided the Blue Ridge Discovery Center $55,000 in grant support to complete master planning efforts for a major redevelopment project.

An additional $50,000 from DEQ and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership was provided for environmental assessments and remediation to ensure brownfield properties on the site are viable for reuse.

BRDC is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and sharing the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Located in Troutdale, the project involves transforming two adjoining gas station sites on Whitetop Road and the historic Konnarock Training School and campground into a unique Southwest Virginia destination.

Through an EPA Brownfields Assessment grant, DEQ’s Brownfields Program funding was used for the master plan, which features the development of several facilities, including a visitor center, butterfly house, covered pavilion, residential area and an amphitheater. There will also be activity lawns as well as environmental attractions, such as wetlands, creeks and a nature trail.

“DEQ is excited to partner with BRDC in their efforts to transform these underutilized properties into beneficial, educational facilities that will help in their mission to connect people to the amazing natural resources around them,” said DEQ Brownfields Program Coordinator Vincent Maiden. “Although the redevelopment project is still in its early days, we anticipate these efforts will positively impact the entire region for years to come.”

For more information on DEQ’s Brownfields Program, visit the website.