BUCKHANNON — While we were disappointed in the announcement on May 28 from Charleston that our City’s Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant application was denied while 12 other projects primarily in southern West Virginia were funded, we will continue our efforts to explore funding from all sources to realize our project’s completion including reapplication for AML funding for the 2020-21 cycle.
We understand that $25 million will be made available to West Virginia for 2020-21. Last year, 2018-19, we were hopeful, but this year we were optimistic about our opportunity to be awarded grant funds. Last year, we received a critique from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, & revised our grant application accordingly.
In examining previous successful grant applications from 2018-19, it appeared that Buckhannon hadn’t requested enough funds to merit AML grant funding. So, we took the $1.8 million application & expanded our project into a $3.8 million one. It was suggested that we hadn’t identified enough anticipated tourism expansion & economic growth for our community from the project, so we greatly enhanced those elements of our grant application.
We incorporated information regarding the greatly reduced coal mining in Upshur County, which is what the AML program is largely about. We told our community’s story including the 2006 Sago Mine disaster here. We took all of the recommendations from the State & improved our application. It’s difficult to imagine a better project for AML funding.
While we are not currently privy to the other grant applications around the State including those projects that were funded, we can state with great confidence that our application was a well-assembled one addressing all facets of the 2018-19 critique. Our application was well researched & considerable time was allocated to the submittal by our staff.
Our City will continue to be vigilant to explore funding methods to extend our Poundstone River Walk Trail & to develop our Stockert facility as the trail head. While we may be temporarily disappointed, we won’t be deterred. We’ll be very highly receptive to any additional critique from DEP & Charleston concerning denial of this year’s grant application. We continue to be uplifted by the generosity of our many donors who’ve gotten us to nearly a half million dollars in funding for our new building at Stockert.
We’ll assuredly overcome today’s disappointment, remaining focused on achieving our goal at realizing a high-quality building as soon as possible.
To summarize the twelve (12) 2019-20 projects that were selected by Gov. Justice for funding:
(1) Boone County $3.38 million ATV resort
(2) Fayette County $1.5 million Sewer project
(3) Kanawha County $960,000 Wildlife education center
(4) McDowell County $1 million Renaissance center
(5) Mingo County $2.7 million Campgrounds & cabins
(6) Preston County $1 million Trailhead
(7) Raleigh County $7.65 million Sewer project
(8) Raleigh County $2.125 million Water project
(9) Raleigh County $1.32 million Water project
(10) Tucker County $818,000 Water project
(11) Wayne County $250,000 Lodge, cabins, tennis, basketball
(12) Wyoming County $4.5 million Water project
To recap, only $1.82 million of the total $27.2 million AML funds were assigned to northern counties and $25.38 million was allocated to southern counties. This means that northern counties received only 6.69% of all funds awarded.
On a more positive note, just today we were notified by Governor Justice’s office of our grant application approval for $50,000 that will permit us to extend our River Trail another .37 of a mile, or another 1,930 linear feet from Marion Street to Monongalia Street. The next logical extensions of our River Trail would be from Monongalia Street to the former Moore’s plant, & then on to the Tallmansville Road behind our Middle School.
We thank the State of West Virginia for this generous award that will edge us closer to our 20-year goal of extending our River Trail to our high school & beyond. Successful funding of our AML grant application will take the River Trail all the way to Sago on the south, & Pringle Tree Park to the north.
Since 2016, Buckhannon has benefited tremendously from various state, federal, & private foundation grants. Those grants & projects include:
(1) Gateway West TAP $412,217 ADA compliant sidewalks & street Phases I, II, & III lighting
(2) FEMA Generators $1,951,847 Generators at City water & sewer plants, lift stations, & Public Safety Complex
(3) Downtown ADA ramps $944,100 Sidewalks & street ADA ramps
(4) Early Warning Monitor $114,647 Electronic monitoring of raw water Systems source (Buck. River) for contaminants
(5) Colonial Theatre $230,000 Restoration of theatre for youth arts & Buck. Community Theatre +
(6) North Buckhannon $43,283.50 Improvements, sec. cams, fencing, Riverfront Park paving, ADA parking, sidewalks, etc
(7) Volunteer Center $48,823 Established City Volunteer Center
(8) REAP Litter Control $5,000 Property cleanup
(9) REAP Recycling $50, 000 Recycling equipment & vehicle
(10) Wonder & Grow $3,000 Stockert Youth & Community Ctr.
(11) WVU Physical Fitness $4,993 —
(12) Green Infrastructure $4,000 —
(13) Families Leading Change $1,000 —
(14) HRSA Rural Comms. $197,176 Opioid Response
(15) First Energy Foundation $10,000 Colonial Theatre
(16) WVDEP $500 Clean City Program
(17) WV DOH TAPs Grant $50,000 River Trail extensions
The average annual amount of grants awarded to our City during the past four years is $1,005,439.88 These funds have greatly enhanced our high quality of life in our City, but particularly have benefitted our youth, those seeking to be healthy, those who are challenged in their ability to move about, public safety, utility support, & the public arts. Our City is very highly appreciative of the source providers for all of our many grant awards.