Millions of dollars in funds have been awarded to projects throughout the Virginia coalfield region from the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization grant program.
On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam, D, and U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, announced eight new projects to receive funding. The program is administered by the Department of Mines, Miners and Energy and designed to boost the local economies of Virginia’s coalfield region. The agency received $10 million in 2020 to develop Abandoned Mine Land sites, thanks to an amendment that Griffith secured in the 2017 Federal Omnibus Funding Bill, according to a news release.
The program is providing $2.5 million to the city of Norton for an industrial site development aimed at attracting new manufacturing businesses. In Buchanan County, a $2 million award was granted for a commercial solar development on a reclaimed surface coal mine.
In Wise County, $1.7 million was awarded for Elam Farm Property Infrastructure Development. The project is an industrial site for a cluster of light manufacturing facilities, the release states. A total of $500,000 is being awarded to create a pad for an indoor grow farm in Lee County. A regional project through the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority has been awarded $500,000. It will be used for grain processing, storage and distribution terminal.
Also in Wise County, $371,000 has been awarded to the Veldon Dotson Recreation Park Improvements for a travel ball field to be created.
Breaks Interstate Park Waterpark has been awarded $300,000 for a swimming pool and updates to the restrooms and features at the existing waterpark. A total of $975,000 has also been awarded for the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority. It will be used for a first-of-its-kind Energy Lab to assist innovators in the energy industry.
“This program will have a substantial impact on our coalfield communities,” Northam said. “This grant program provides critical funding for industrial, agricultural, community development, and tourism projects which will help our coalfield communities flourish.”
Griffith said, “This additional funding of $10 million is building on the work of the previous years to redevelop and repurpose abandoned mine lands. I was pleased to lead the efforts in the House to secure the inclusion of Virginia in this federal program.”