Mingo County, Williamson receive river grants

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Mingo County and the City of Williamson are working together to make the Tug River safer and more attractive for recreational and developmental purposes.

The city and county applied for two separate grants with the National Coal Heritage Area Authority. The funding comes from the National Park Service and the maximum funds were $15,000 for each. The grants require a 50-50 match, so each project must cost at least $30,000.

The Mingo County Commission applied for $15,000 to build a watercraft launching site at Borderland.

The City of Williamson applied for money to remove a man-made hydraulic that causes an undercurrent in the river directly in front of the Williamson Water Plant. Removing that river hazard will make it safer for kayakers coming through Williamson from other areas.

“The Tug River is becoming more of a recreational draw,” said Leigh Ann Ray. She is the Grants Coordinator and Project Manager for the Mingo County Commission. “Tourism is being developed more and more as economic development here in Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. The Tug River plays a really large role in that.”

“We’re at the beginning stage. We have a year to complete the projects. You can consider both of these awards as phase one. Next year we’ll also apply for funding to advance the projects and actually do the construction.”

Once the official contracts are signed between both Mingo County and the City of Williamson and the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, the projects can move forward into phase two.

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