Vintondale Site Statistics:
Borough of Vintondale Statistics:
The AMD&ART Vintondale site is situated on 35 acres of reclaimed mine land that once hosted the heart of this small mining town-a coal plant with major buildings and the Pennsylvania Railroad line that connected the Borough with the outside world. Bordering the northern edge of the site is the Ghost Town Rail Trail, which hosts approximately 75,000 users annually. Carving out the eastern and southern boundaries is the South Branch of Blacklick Creek, a river severely impacted by AMD. Beyond the creek is the Borough of Vintondale, home to over 500 residents, many of whom came here during the town's coal-mining heyday.
Townspeople are still deeply connected to this central place, because of both its history and its future. 80 residents, more than 10% of the population, turned out for the last two public design meetings to write down their ideas on site maps, and talk with AMD&ART team members and each other about their town and the best AMD&ART solution. The resulting design proposal incorporates ideas from all participants and enjoys wide community and agency support. Interest in this new kind of community place is broad and growing, with young people in schools and clubs working with retirees and community activists to make sure the Vintondale AMD&ART project is as inclusive and exciting as possible.
To create this place, AMD&ART is breaking new ground in watershed funding at our Vintondale site. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) entered into a partnership with AMD&ART to fund the construction of the emergent wetlands, enabling AMD&ART to create a trust fund for the maintenance of the wetlands and treatment system that will exist in perpetuity.
People traveling west along the Trail will round a bend to see a sequence of large pools set within the topography. The water will flow through a series of settling ponds and SAPS until it flows into the wetlands, cleansed of its metallic pollutants and higher in pH. Native plants, selected for their color to reflect the increasing health of the water, transition from deep orange to silver-green alongside the system. Where black boney now barely supports scrubby grasses and stunted trees, a new marsh environment will soon attract birds and wildlife.
Interpretive trails will draw together historical information, the science behind passive AMD treatment, and the newly healed ecosystem that will thrive in the wake of remediation. Visitors will gain new perspective on the resilience of nature and the ability of humans and nature to work successfully together to create a new center of community life. The physical presence of this energized place will symbolize the success of community residents in healing these waters, not only by finishing a job left unfinished by past generations, but also by creating a new asset for their own families and future.
Not long from now, kids will play volleyball or soccer or baseball and families will picnic on this now-dead land. With new local businesses already open to accommodate trail users, AMD&ART anticipates that the longer stays and increased attractiveness of the AMD&ART Vintondale project will enhance business life as well as civic life, bringing dollars, pride, and improved value to local residents.
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