History of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority
In July of 1989, the Mingo County Commission resolved that one or more slum and blighted areas existed in Mingo County and that the redevelopment of such areas was necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of Mingo County. Therefore, pursuant to said resolution, the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority was created on July 1989 and vested with the powers, functions, rights, duties and privileges of an Urban Renewal or Redevelopment Authority, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 16, Article 18, Section 1, et. Seq. of the West Virginia Code, 1931, as amended.
The Mission of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority is to provide opportunities for economic diversification, growth, and enhanced quality of life for the citizens of Mingo County.
We have been successful in accomplishing this mission by virtue of our Land Use Master Plan (or “LUMP”). The LUMP allows us to work with mining companies to identify alternate uses of surface mined land once mining is complete. The goal of the LUMP is to ensure that Mingo County achieves maximum economic sustainability from post mining land uses. When we implement the LUMP through partnerships with coal companies, we maximize job creation, we increase the revenue base by recruiting new businesses and expanding existing businesses, and we plan infrastructure to coincide with the economic development opportunities.
The MCRA, in its efforts to create a more diversified economy, has had many successes during the past 20 years. Listed below are some of the most notable and successful projects that we’ve undertaken.
- 1991 - Mingo County clean up project (see attached picture)
- 1991 - 202 Non-Structural Flood Project
- 1991 - Laurel Creek Subdivision
- 1995 - Mingo County Agriculture Site
- 1999 - Mingo County Fish Hatchery
- 2000 - Hatfield-McCoy Trails
- 2001 - Wood Products Industrial Park (Phase I) (LUMP Project)
- 2002 - WV State Police / DMV Buildings
- 2004 - King Coal Highway (LUMP Project)
- 2004 - Air Transportation Park (LUMP Project)
- 2005 – Wood Products Industrial Park (Phase II)
- 2005 – Belo Industrial Park
MCRA’S PATH TOWARD POST MINING LAND USE
In 2001, a public/private partnership was formed with James H. “Buck” Harless to develop the Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park on a reclaimed surface mine site. Because the mining company was required to restore the land to its approximate original contour (“AOC”) after mining was completed in the early 80’s, the dirt had to be moved again to develop the flat land needed for the industrial park project, at a cost of over $30 million. Therefore, Mike Whitt, the MCRA’s first executive director, commenced working with mining companies on the front end of mine plans to put a reclamation plan in place which would enable the coal companies to leave the mine site at a more configurable surface for beneficial re-use, instead of restoring it to its AOC.
Whitt’s tenacious lobbying of post mine land use resulted in the, the Mingo County Land Use Master Plan was created. Because of its success, this plan has served as a model for other counties in the state. Basically, this plan provided opportunities for mining companies to develop usable land for development opportunities, making it more attractive for businesses to locate in our county.
Some of the successful projects attributed to this plan include:
- The Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park (opened in 2001)
- The Mingo County Air Transportation Park (opened in 2012)
- Mingo Central High School (opened in 2011)
- The Mike Whitt Memorial Highway (King Coal Highway) (opened in 2011)
- Adams Fork Energy (coal-to-liquids project) (preliminary construction started in 2011)