Eleven economic development projects designed to benefit localities in the coalfield region have been selected for possible grant approval from the Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program.
U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, announced the grants Thursday under the program, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and funded by the Federal Power Plus Pilot Program.
“Reclaiming abandoned mine land is critical to economic development and job creation in Southwest Virginia,” Griffith said in a news release. “The federal AML Pilot program, which I championed in the U.S House of Representatives, offers a boost to our efforts in the coalfields to diversify the economy, support infrastructure upgrades, improve the environment and attract new opportunities. The projects benefiting from this round of funding highlight the value of abandoned mine land reclamation.”
In Norton, Country Cabin II may be awarded $35,000. The music venue along the Crooked Road would make improvements to become a year-round site, according to the news release.
Also in Norton, industrial site development aimed at attracting new manufacturing businesses may be granted $1.41 million. A grain processing, storage and distribution terminal in Norton has also been selected for a possible $2 million grant.
Project Greenhouse in Russell County may be awarded $2 million. It would allow for construction of a commercial greenhouse with proper infrastructure in the county, the release states.
In Wise County, Russell Creek Falls Keystone Project could be awarded $390,000. The project would develop recreational opportunities associated with the unique waterfall.
In addition, $103,000 may be awarded in Wise County for the Work Initiative. The project encourages remote working by providing a place for those doing high-tech jobs in the region.
In Tazewell County, the Real McCoy Cabins expansion project has been selected for $527,361. The release says the project would expand an overnight stop for ATV riders and visitors in the town of Pocahontas.
Trammel community revitalization may be awarded $150,000. Infrastructure improvements would be made in the historic coal camp town. The Red Onion Industrial Site in Dickenson County may be awarded $869,854. It is a regional industrial site that would attract new business to the county.
More than $1.2 million could be awarded to state Route 718 utility expansion in Buchanan County, which would allow for airport expansion. Projects in Lee and Buchanan counties may also be awarded a total of $1.5 million to use hemp as a remediation and reclamation tool. The project would allow commercial growth of hemp while also improving environmental effects of acid mine draining in the area.
Virginia received grant dollars to develop Abandoned Mine Land sites through an amendment to the Federal Omnibus Funding Bill. The amendment provided $10 million each to Virginia, Ohio and Alabama, in addition to funding for Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania provided in the underlying bill.
The projects must still undergo a review from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement prior to official award, according to Griffith.
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