CHARLES TOWN – Area leaders are gearing up for a final presentation about redevelopment plans for downtown Ranson and Charles Town that will be held at the Old Opera House at 7 p.m., on Sept. 14.
[cleeng_content id="t1" price="0.15" description="Read it now!"]The plans, developed during a series of workshops, will be what Place Makers’ Public Relations Officer Ben Brown calls a “final rough draft” for the development of a green corridor running from Fairfax Boulevard in Ranson to North George Street in Charles Town. Planners hope to make the corridor environmentally- and pedestrian-friendly.
The plans for the green corridor, together with a new transit center and other new facilities, will be realized with substantial help from federal grant monies that both towns have been awarded in recent months. This money includes $1.5 million recently awarded to Ranson, which Mayor David Hamill announced last week.
The funds include money to redevelop the Badger-Powhatan facility – a defunct brass foundry which has been mouldering for decades, according to Hamill.
The site of the old foundry will be redeveloped as Powhatan Place, a new community which will include commercial, residential and recreational space. Planners also hope that the new development will follow green building standards and provide an environment friendly to pedestrians.
“United Technologies owned the property, and their intention was to build a fence around it and leave it alone for the next hundred years,” Hamill said. “We said, ‘That’s unacceptable. We don’t need a facility like that in the center of our community.’”
In addition to the $1.5 million grant, the project also received a $3 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative program, which funds efforts to clean up and develop polluted areas, Hamill said.
Several other large federal grants have already been obtained by Ranson officials through their participation in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Partnership is a joint effort by HUD, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency designed to promote “livable” and sustainable communities.
“We’re getting close to the $6 million to $7 million dollar range, which is really a substantial investment by the federal government,” said acting City Manager Andrew P. Blake.
Although there were over 1,700 applicants to the Partnership, only Denver, Colo,. and Ranson obtained grants from all three federal agencies.
Blake said Charles Town and Ranson will be uniquely helped by the substantial federal grant money.
“When Denver gets that money, they’ll revitalize a block or two blocks. We will be able to revitalize our whole community,” he said.
Blake said it was Ranson’s unique vision for the project that enabled it to secure federal dollars.
“It was a vision that sold itself,” he said. “The two towns had a vision. We had something that we wanted to do, but we needed to have the extra money to start putting those things into place.”
Throughout the week a number of events will be held to gather citizen input for the development of Powhatan Place and other projects throughout Charles Town and Ranson. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.ransonrenewed.com.[/cleeng_content]