CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Sec. Harold Ward held a virtual ceremony today to announce the recommendation of nine AML Economic Revitalization Program projects that will utilize over $24.7 million in federal grant funding for economic development at abandoned mine land sites across the state.
“Today is a really great day,” Gov. Justice said. “In addition to the incredible economic development projects these grants will bring to our great state, the multiplier effect to our communities where the projects are happening will be off the charts. These projects will return dollars to West Virginia for a long, long time to come.”
The WVDEP’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation (AML)administers the grant funding, which is provided by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE).
Grant applications were evaluated by a committee of representatives from the WVDEP, West Virginia Department of Commerce, West Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Governor’s Office.
OSMRE must also give final approval of the projects and amounts awarded.
To qualify, the proposed economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act on August 3, 1977. To view a map of known AML sites in West Virginia, click here.
Since 2016, this program has committed over $155 million in grant funding to assist projects all across the West Virginia coalfields.
“Redeveloping these abandoned mine land sites will serve as serious economic drivers in communities all across West Virginia,” Sec. Ward said. “Governor Justice and his administration have been vital in finding projects that will provide jobs, boost tourism, and showcase the beauty of our state.”
TOTAL RECOMMENDED FOR ALL PROJECTS: $24,770,265
The recommended projects are as follows:
CLAY / KANAWHA COUNTIES
Elk River Rail Trail Project – $1,500,000
To purchase 28.8 miles of privately owned rail trail – Queen Shoals (MP 67.2) to Clendenin (MP 96.0).
Appalachian Botanical (Lavender Farm & Regional Community Center) – $1,600,000
In this proposed two-year project, Appalachian Botanical Co. will construct a lavender farm and apiary on 30 acres located near the Left Fork of Big Creek in Fayette County. An additional 12 acres will be reserved for future development of an educational, vocational, and recreational center.
GREENBRIER / SUMMERS COUNTIES
Meadow River Tiny Home Workshop – $420,265
Funding to reinvent the building at 707 Main St. in Rainelle, WV, (also noted as 1205 Main St. on some documents) into a workshop for building tiny homes, transportable sheds, and cabinetry. Meadow River Tiny Homes will employ local area residents, members of God’s Way Home Rehabilitation Center and Fruits of Labor, Seed Sower Inc.; both located in Rainelle. God’s Way Home and Fruits of Labor are organizations that work directly with men and women entering recovery. Meadow River Tiny Homes will serve as a safe and conducive work environment for members learning to balance life after addiction as they are exiting the recovery programs. They will learn a trade and earn wages that will encourage growth beyond the recovery program to be able to live a sustainable life without addiction. Education will continue through Communities of Healing, a program designed to train local businesses to hire and continue rehabilitation in a public workplace.
Stonewood I-79 Development – $5,000,000
Construction of three pads of three acres, 29 acres, and 28 acres, as well as three access roads, to be used for light industrial/commercial and/or residential growth in Stonewood.
Middle Ridge Trail System – $300,000
Project to improve access to the Middle Ridge Trail System, one of the most popular trail destinations in Kanawha State Forest. The front and back ends of the trail have never been fully completed and, due to challenging terrain, existing points of access are very difficult for intended users (families, hikers, runners, mountain bikers). If the two trail segments can be completed under budget, the project will also perform maintenance on the existing Middle Ridge Trail system.
LOGAN / MINGO COUNTIES
McDonald Clan Resort Project – $4,000,000
The project will include a new Hatfield-McCoy Trail System – the Brave Heart Trail System – consisting of over 60 new miles of new ATV trails and a one-of-a kind zip line system that will include 7,830 feet of aerial zip lines; second only in the state of West Virginia to Adventures on the Gorge zip line facility in total aerial feet of zip line. The project will consist of 20 two-bedroom cabins, 12 four-bedroom cabins, 15 full-hookup recreational vehicle sites, an outdoor pool, a bathhouse, kayak rentals, and general store.
Mylan Park RV Resort and Campground – $3,750,000
Project to develop a camping recreation area in Mylan Park on reclaimed mining land, (MP KOA). The MP KOA will be located on 37 acres of previously undeveloped Mylan Park property and will attract visitors to the park and surrounding community year-round. The MP KOA will include 169 RV/camper sites, 24 cabins, 4 tent sites, and site amenities such as a clubhouse and bathhouses.
Edible Mountain – $3,200,000
Project to develop approximately 60 acres of abandoned mine lands on Wheeling’s Vineyard Hill into a beautiful and accessible natural space in the heart of downtown. Project includes the construction of (1) a network of hiking and mountain bike trails, (2) an educational visitors center with a forest observation platform, and (3) a scenic fitness park and terraced garden that connects downtown to the existing urban farm and apple orchard. All of these spaces offer commanding views of downtown Wheeling and the surrounding hills. Following the goals outlined in the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and with full support of local government and development agencies, this project is at the nexus of economic and community development. It seeks to promote the health of all residents, increase tourism, and support local business through the dual objectives of environmental stewardship and improved natural recreation opportunities.
AS Holdings Inc. DBA Appalachian Salmon – $5,000,000
AS Holdings Inc. is developing a project to raise salmon utilizing the water stored in the abandoned Maple Meadow Mine. The process is completely enclosed, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and targets an area that has lost thousands of jobs due to the decline of the coal industry. The process is circular, in that water is continuously circulated in the facility, treated, and also circulated through the mine void with very little effluent.