Feb. 9—By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRAMWELL — Projects in McDowell County and Mercer County were among the recommendations Thursday for millions of dollars in abandoned mine land revitalization grants, West Virginia's governor said.
Gov. Jim Justice announced during an award ceremony the recommendation of 10 Abandoned Mine Lands Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program projects that will utilize nearly $30 million in federal grant funding for economic development at abandoned mine land sites across the state.
Justice held the event at the Grave Creek Mound Historical Complex in Moundsville.
In McDowell County, the Ashland Resort Tourism Park (Phase 2) has been recommended for a $2,993,500 grant, Justice said.
This project will build upon the current development at Ashland Resort in McDowell County, adding additional cabins, roadways, retail stores and entertainment venues, according to the governor's office.
Over in neighboring Mercer County, the Liberty Station Lodge & Tavern has been recommended for a $2,421,968 grant. Seeking to preserve the African American High School (AAHS) in Bramwell, this community economic business development and revitalization plan will transform the 14,000 square-foot building into a 14-room Lodge and Tavern with upscale dining, a large conference room and multiple large parking lots, Justice said.
Also in southern West Virginia, the Chief Logan Resort and Recreation Center in Logan County has been recommended for a $6.8 million grant.
Adjacent to Chief Logan Resort State Park, this project includes a themed Mountain Coaster, simulated 3-D coal mine, authentic coal camp structures used for displaying mining and railroad artifacts, food concessions, and merchandise. Additionally, this facility will serve as a training hub for rented equipment to allow non-owners of ATVs to experience the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. Plans also include adding more walking and mountain bike trails in the current Chief Logan Park area, according to the governor's office.
Grant applications were evaluated by a committee of representatives from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the West Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Governor's Office. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (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 Aug. 3, 1977.
Since 2016, this program has committed over $205 million in grant funding to assist projects all across the West Virginia coalfields.
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