Braxton County Development Authority, Gassaway and Sutton, has received a Brownsfield Assessment Grant for $300,000.

Only the first 10 miles have been opened thus far, but when completed, the new Elk River Trail will run for 73 miles from Falling Rock, outside of Clendenin in Kanawha County, through Clay County to Duck, and on into Braxton County.

According to BCDA executive director Terrell Ellis, the new $300,000 EPA brownfields grant will be used to assess potential environmental problems at abandoned, vacant and dilapidated properties adjacent to the trail.

“The communities located along the trail have come together and drawn up an inventory of 57 properties that might qualify for assessment,” Ellis said. “If we find one of those has a good redevelopment potential, we can then seek an EPA cleanup grant to remedy what environmental concerns have been detected. The ultimate goal is to show investors that a property has a ‘clean bill of health’ and is ready for reuse.”

She noted that some of the sites in line for assessment are riverbank locations and thus, once developed, could provide new access to the Elk, increasing its recreational potential.