Despite change of plans, new Wellington Park is still a 'go'
The plan to relaim the old Knight-Ideal coal loadout for a city park complex in Wellington has run into a complication, but it is not a fatal flaw.
It is a question of what to do with all the junk coal remaining on the 17-acre property. According to Chris Rohrer, a senior reclamation specialist with the state's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, the original plan to haul the coal away had to be scrapped.
Dugout Mine had offered to take the coal at its own disposal site, but has since cut back operations, Rohrer told the city council Wednesday.
Although he had shopped around to find an alternative place, he could not find one that was available or affordable, he said.
"I reluctantly came to the conclusion to leave the coal on the property," he reported.
So the plan now is to simply bury the waste coal under three feet of cover dirt. It is not a toxic waste, but the city will have to classify the property as a landfill and get state permission for the new plan.
That's okay with Mayor Ben Blackburn and the council. In fact, the mayor noted, there may be some advantages to the revisions.
Instead of carting away the material from excavating the hole for the urban fishery, it could be used to create some contours for the picnic area.
The mayor and council told representatives from URS Engineers that they would like most of the waste coal to be laid to rest under the parking lot, which is going to be paved anyway.
City officials don't want the disposal area to be near the proposed skate park or fishing hole, though.
That's feasible, said URS engineer Amber Fortner.
The park plan calls for access along 850 East south of Highway 6. The parking area would be parallel to the street. Across the parking lot would be two baseball fields, a concession stand and rest rooms.
South of the ball fields would be a 2.5 acre fishing pond, some additional parking and another rest room. Also in the site plan are a skate park, a play ground, and a nature trail for walking.
Benches along the trail and a picnic area near the pond are included.
While funds for the reclamation will come from the state mine program, the city will have to find additional sources and its own in-kind support to fund the project.