Consol Longwall Coal Mining Damage Settlement Funds New Swimming Pool Complex At Ryerson Station State Park, Greene County
On August 29, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Secretary John Norbeck and other state officials broke ground for a new swimming pool complex at Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County funded by $9.6 million in settlement funds from Consol Energy for longwall coal mining damage to the park.
"This state-of-the-art pool complex, coupled with major park campground renovations underway, are direct results of public input and participation centering on the future of Ryerson Station," Norbeck said. "DCNR is committed to enhancing recreational opportunities here that benefit not just park visitors, but also surrounding communities and their economies here in Greene County."
Pool complex work will include demolition of the park's Pavilion 1 and construction on that site of a gradual sloping, "zero entry" pool, slide and spray park. A new parking lot at the old pool site will be equipped with solar shading structures designed to drastically curtail park electricity use.
The Re-Vision Ryerson Station State Park Task Force, formed to examine future park recreational opportunities, had called for swimming and camping improvements at Ryerson Station.
Now nearing completion, campground renovations will include new shower facilities; three deluxe camping cottages; full hookups on seven campsites; and a newly paved road and redesigned entrance.
Duke Lake at Ryerson Station State Park was drawn down in July 2005 for safety reasons after inspections of the dam revealed seepage and dam foundation movement. Replacement of a dam that created the lake is currently not possible because of continued ground movement and an unstable foundation, resulting in the department withdrawing its permit application to rebuild the structure.
In April 2013, DCNR and Consol Energy Inc. settled a lawsuit related to the impact of longwall mining in the area on the dam. According to settlement terms, the Commonwealth has no additional recourse against Consol for any movement or destabilization of the dam. Settlement funds will finance the estimated $9.6 million pool complex costs.
Beyond swimming and camping enhancements, the task force of park supporters, area residents, and state officials had suggested future park improvements include hiking and biking trails, and stream restoration work addressing fish habitat and better access.
Located in Greene County's southwestern corner, near the West Virginia border, Ryerson Station's 1,164 acres offers visitors hiking, fishing, picnicking, and winter activities.
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(Photo: Lake dam damaged by underground longwall coal mining at Ryerson Station State Park.)
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[Posted: August 30, 2019]
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