The goal of CABIN is to increase the capacity of Appalachian communities to address redevelopment issues on brownfields and formerly mined lands to provide better economic, social, and community development opportunities for their residents.
Central Appalachia has recently begun to reckon with the formidable environmental and economic impacts left behind by the mining, lumber, and manufacturing industries that once dominated our region. But many brownfield and redevelopment professionals believe that this is not cause for despair, but rather an exciting opportunity to overcome these impacts with innovative solutions for a brighter future. This is why the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center and representatives from the West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee departments of environmental protection came together in 2016 to form the Central Appalachian Brownfields Innovation Network (CABIN) and provide education on the benefits of the sustainable redevelopment of brownfields and formerly mined lands. Since its inception, CABIN has grown to include members from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina as well.
In each of these states, the decline of coal and manufacturing industries has left behind industrial legacy sites that could provide opportunity for new investment and economic development; however, due to a lack of environmental understanding and resources, they remain eyesores and economic detractors for Appalachian communities. As local and state economic development leaders look to attract new and diversified economies in Appalachia, these brownfield sites provide the acreage and infrastructure to site a number of industries, including small manufacturing, back into the hearts of communities. CABIN was created to help facilitate this renaissance – the collaborative effort of dedicated local professionals to enable better coordination and experience-sharing with other concerned partners across the region.