204 205 Pennsylvania from the Marcellus Shale. That com- pany is building a 50,000-sq.-ft. facility for its first phase, with five additional phases of construction planned for different product lines it wants to roll out - a welcome $7 million investment by the company. Because of those investments, and international businesses looking to call Weirton home, the city is working to construct a conference center fa- cility within the business park and near hotels to encourage more growth. Part of that conference center project is a redeveloped master plan for additional retail development in the area, which was another former brownfield. Blosser admits, “I commonly refer to Weirton as the kingdom of brownfields, any type of indus- try you can think of, we’ve had here. So, now, it’s getting those properties to a point where they can be reused, and employ people with nice mid- dle-class wages to be able to raise their families, send their kids to college, and give back to the community. Business has increased over the last two years with additional retail development, and redevelopment, including a former Walmart facility. The parking lot and building has been retrofitted into light manufacturing and retail. That whole facility, and a complete retail area, has changed our landscape.” The city is also looking at roadway improve- ments for additional access, and streetscaping to foster a different environment, as well as improv- WEIRTON, WEST VIRGINIA ing water meters and street lighting to make the community more energy efficient.Weirton still has problem areas, like the downtown, that need additional investment. To that end, they brought in a group called Sustainable Strategies, which is a Washington, D.C. strategic consulting and lobbying firm. Blosser says, “We’re working with them on grant funding for several projects, the biggest one being our north end where we have about 1000 acres of brownfield (Bidell is a part) that was recently sold by Arcelor Mittel, who took over all the Weirton Steel properties that are now going to be redeveloped. The new owner is the Frontier Group of companies out of New York. They are in the process of demolishing and re- moving the old blast furnaces; eventually provid- ing us with usable brownfield land to redevelop.” Part of the sustainable strategies effort is going after advanced manufacturing, and renewable and sustainable technology sectors, including car- bon fiber, wind turbines, solar panels, advanced vehicle and battery production, and other emerg- ing high-tech, energy-intensive industries. Accord- ing to Blosser, “Weirton’s location is fairly strate- gic for river access and rail access.We can get to the Pittsburgh International Airport faster than individuals in the Pittsburgh market area.We also have access to major highway arterials that can get you to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C..We are extremely well positioned and much different than any other West Virginia city.” The emerging medical district in Weirton is a key economic driver. The hospital has added an additional 500 employees in the last three years,