About 250 individuals gathered in Charleston, West Virginia, on September 7 and 8, to discuss ways to revitalize brownfields at the inaugural Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit. The Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program helped organize and promote the event.
Panelists discussed funding sources, the reuse of former mined lands and how to harness the power of youth. Of particular interest was a discussion on building community resilience, which was especially relevant in view of the recent floods and the continuing economic disruptions the area is experiencing.
Another particularly lively area of conversation was healthfields. Healthfields are clinics, community gardens, farmers markets, recreational facilities and similar sites that can enhance the health of nearby residents. Converting brownfields into healthfields remediates blighted properties, while simultaneously enhancing the health of the communities.
In order to continue the conversation, summit planners are developing the Central Appalachian Brownfields Innovation Network (CABIN). CABIN will have three main components:
- The Redevelopment Expert Exchange will match up communities working on projects with mentor communities that have successfully completed similar projects.
- The Front Porch will be an online platform to hold discussions.
- The Campfire will facilitate broad educational opportunities, traditional training and educational approaches.
To learn more about CABIN, go to http://brownfieldsinnovation.com/