Turn That Abandoned Mine Land Near Your Community Into an Asset


July 24, 2020

The Plains, OH — Abandoned mine lands throughout Appalachian Ohio are being converted into economic assets thanks to several reclamation programs, and an upcoming webinar will offer details on how your community can apply for grants to assist in local efforts.

On July 29, Rural Action will host Economic Opportunities for Ohio’s Coal Communities, a webinar that will offer guidance on how to secure funding for projects like the Moonville Rail Trail in southeastern Ohio, which received a $1.15 million grant from the Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program. 

Moonville, which currently is 12.2 miles of disconnected  rail trail traversing Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park, is expected to create 236 jobs and generate $21.6 million in regional economic activity when it is a completed 16-mile trail.

Webinar participants will learn how to tap the tens of millions of dollars available for similar projects, including details about the following programs: 

  • Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Mineral Resources Management administers this program, which funds projects that encourage economic development on abandoned mine lands. Ohio receives $10 million annually to fund this program. 
  • Brownfields Program – The federal and Ohio EPA oversee this program that restores contaminated former industrial sites, rendering them suitable for new development Previously mined areas are now eligible for Brownfields Program funding. 
  • Assistance to Coal Communities Program – The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has funding specifically designated for communities experiencing hardships related to the downturn of coal-dependent industries. This funding is available even to communities outside of mining areas, but with coal-related businesses (like coal-fired power plants or similar facilities). 

The webinar will feature discussion of the types of projects that are eligible for funding and suggest strategies for securing that funding. The Moonville Rail Trail, for instance, secured $550,000 in additional funding from other sources, which demonstrated strong local support for the initiative.

The event will feature Karla Acker of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discussing the Brownfield program; Kyle Darken of the Economic Development Administration discussing the Assistance to Coal Communities program; and Marissa Lautzenheiser and Terry Van Offeren of Rural Action. There will be ample Q&A time to facilitate specific examples or questions. 

Economic Opportunities for Ohio’s Coal Communities  is free and will run from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. on July 29. For more information or to register, please visit https://conta.cc/2CYZXlg.

Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org


Marissa Lautzenheiser
Director of Northern Programs
(330) 859-1050


Terry Van Offeren
Project Manager
(740) 814-0493

The Moonville Rail Trail, currently 12.2 miles of disconnected trail, will be a 16-mile economic asset when completed. A $1.15 million grant from the AML Pilot Program is a key driver of the project.
On July 24th, 2020, posted in: Latest News by