BY EMMA PEPPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, THE HUB
Governor Jim Justice and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton shared that, this year, $50.65 million in Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants was awarded to 15 projects in 12 counties to projects supporting job growth, increased tourism, and redevelopment across West Virginia.
Funding for this federal initiative comes from fees paid by active coal mine operators on each ton of coal mined, and grant projects must take place on or adjacent to coal mine sites that were abandoned before 1977. The initiative backs an array of projects that support diversifying and strengthening the state’s economy.
Listed among the recipients are grants to support the diversification of the food and agricultural sectors including a greenhouse operation, an aquaponics project to raise fish and vegetables, and a facility for local livestock; the expansion of ATV and other recreational trails; and increasing accessibility for broadband Internet.
The deadline to apply for an additional share of $25 million in economic redevelopment grants for abandoned mine land sites has been extended to June 29 (details online here).
The complete list of projects from applications received in 2016 and 2017 includes:
- Boone County: Northern Cardinal Price-Hunter Branch Hatfield greenhouse operation to produce commercial quantities of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits, $3,206,198;
- Boone/Lincoln County: Ivy Branch Off Road Development Project to acquire 2,600 acres for Hatfield-McCoy Trail development, $3,320,000;
- Fayette County: Danese PSD-Highland Mountain waterline extension, $2,629,711;
- Fayette County: Danese PSD-Crickmer Road waterline extension, $944,208;
- Kanawha County: Buzz Value Added Meats to construct a modern food-safe facility to convert local livestock to marketable meat products, $4,000,000;
- Logan County: Triadelphia ATV Resort Project to construct 40 miles of new ATV trails and reclaim additional AML features, $1,570,000;
- Logan County: West Virginia Elk Restoration Project visitor center complex project to develop an elk observation platform, $1,029,011;
- Marion County: I-79 Technology Park road expansion to prepare three additional building pads for future development, $3,994,000;
- Mercer County: ATV trail camp at Coaldale to develop a lodge and other accommodations for ATV tourists, $1,800,000;
- Mingo County: Aquaponics project raising fish and vegetables, providing jobs and training to the local community, $3,581,989;
- Nicholas County: Patriot “Guardens” Golden Delicious Apple Project to reintroduce the Golden Delicious apple and develop juicing facilities, providing cooperative farming for veterans and unemployed coal miners, $5,295,000;
- Preston County: Former TAZ Sawmill site project to purchase property, complete renovations, and provide utilities for potential industrial development, $2,208,102;
- Raleigh County: Clear Fork Rail Trail to complete development of eight miles of trail, $2,250,000;
- Tucker County: Beaver Creek Fishery enhancement to improve in-stream riffle and pool habitat, $295,700;
- Mountain State Broadband Expressway to develop towers throughout West Virginia to provide affordable broadband services, Phase I, $12,526,081;
- Mountain State Broadband Expressway Phase II, $2,000,000.