West Virginia officials Thursday announced the names of the recipients they are recommending for millions of dollars in federal funding to help clean up abandoned coal mines.
The West Virginia Department of Environment Protection is recommending 12 projects in the Mountain State receive $27 million in Abandoned Mine Land Pilot program funding.
"They are great projects for West Virginia that will spur economic development," said Gov. Jim Justice, speaking at a virtual press conference Thursday.
The AML Pilot program was created by Congress in 2015 to provide additional federal funding to the six Appalachian states with the most abandoned coal mines, including West Virginia.
The program provides funding to clean up abandoned mines and boost the economic and development goals of local communities. Project recipients ran the gamut, although all are required to be on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operation prior to the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
About half of the projects recommended for funding this year will expand outdoor recreation opportunities and lodging options along the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system in southern West Virginia. Development along the Cheat River and Blackwater River also received funding.
More than half of the funding will go to projects expanding access to clean water in communities, including some in Raleigh, Summers and Fayette counties.
The group Reconnecting McDowell was recommended to receive $1 million to help finance the construction of the Renaissance Village in Welch, which will offer rental apartments to teachers and others in McDowell County.
Federal regulators with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement must still give final approval to recommended projects and funding amounts.
Here is a list of the recommended recipients:
Indian Creek ATV Resort Project $3,378,000
Building the Indian Creek ATV Resort to serve as an anchor development for the newest Hatfield-McCoy Trail system in Boone County. Project includes construction of 20 cabins, 15 RV Sites, and will be the location of the new Coal River Trail System.
Oak Hill Sanitary Board - Minden Sanitary Sewer System Rehabilitation $1,500,000
Upgrading existing sewer lines, pumping stations, and sanitary collection system.
Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center $959,613
Building an educational and wildlife viewing center within the Forks of Coal State Natural Area, located on Corridor G, just south of Charleston.
Renaissance Village in McDowell County $1,000,000
Aiding in the construction of a housing facility for teachers. The proposed facility will also have space available for commercial use.
Twin Hollow Campgrounds and Cabins Expansion Project $2,699,422
Expanding the Twin Hollow Campgrounds and Cabins Resort in Mingo County to an even larger, more prominent destination that will bring in thousands of Hatfield-McCoy Trail Riders annually and facilitate a private sector investment of $3,970,230 over the next five years.
Reclaiming the Cheat River as an Economic Asset through Trail Investment and Nurturing Greenspace (RECREATING) $1,000,000
Improving trail and river access by building a destination trailhead at the Preston site.
Harper Eccles Sewer Extension Project $7,647,398
Providing approximately three miles of public sewer to residents along Route 3 in Raleigh County.
Rhodell Water Service Upgrade Project $2,125,000
Constructing approximately three miles of public water service to residents along Route 33 in Raleigh County.
White Oak Waterline Extension Project $1,319,050
Providing approximately 19,750 linear feet of public water service to residents along the border of Raleigh and Summers counties.
The Blackwater River Loop Project: Hiking, Biking and Heritage Tourism $818,000
Constructing a water treatment system to improve water quality of the north fork of the Blackwater River and make the site a visitor-friendly education project. This project will also create a scenic trail between the towns of Thomas and Davis and restore the Davis Coal and Coke Company engineering building for use.
Fleming - An Old Mining Town Transformation to Rustic Ravines $250,000
Building a lodge and wedding/conference venue, cabins, cottages, pods, RV and ATV parks, tennis amenities, basketball amenities, walking/hiking trails, ATV trails, an Alpine Coaster, a disc golf course, a miniature golf course, and an indoor driving range to increase tourism.
Brenton and Baileysville Waterline Extension Project $4,500,000
Providing water service to 254 customers, Baileysville Elementary and Middle School, along with a potential expansion of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.