Here's a riddle: what do a grocery store, a construction supply warehouse, and a pepper distributor have in common? They all started as abandoned factories. Save-A-Lot, Valley Supply, and Oliverio's Italian Style Peppers are all former Brownfield sites, and one Clarksburg official said they have helped the economy.
"One, we've created a service industry here in Clarksburg, but also we've created jobs," said Clarksburg Mayor Patsy Trecost. "And by creating jobs, we've made it more appetizing and inviting for people to come here and work, play and live. And that's our goal; that's our main goal as a municipality."
Trecost and City Manager Martin Howe said the three businesses have created at least 120 jobs, and brought in at least $15 million in investment from developers. But residents are not the only ones to benefit.
"They're happy they've got a piece of property, and they're happy they got it cheap, because it is a browns piece. We weren't looking to make money as a city. We just wanted to create an environment of business and employment," Trecost said.
Tampering with factories entrenched in the city's history had the potential to upset residents, but Howe said he has not heard any complaints.
"Even though we have a great history of industrial within Clarksburg, with the glass industry, all of these sites were either vacated from a glass factory and/or a foundry of some sort that had been gone for many years, and what was left was a contaminated site, and a dilapidated site, and a blighted site," Howe said.
With three sites already converted, Mayor Trecost said this is just the beginning.
"We're never going to stop looking for sites to create and develop here in Clarksburg."