Friends of South Park looking into mining

Published Nov 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm (Updated Nov 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm)

To help offset the costs of improvements to the fairgrounds oval at South Park, the Friends of South Park organization is investigating if there is coal to be mined in that area.

“The Friends (of South Park) decided it would make sense for the county to put out an RFP (request for proposals) to determine the risks and rewards of the project,” said David Buchewicz, president of the Friends of South Park. He would not elaborate further on the subject.

At a January meeting of the Friends of South Park, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said a project for improvements to the oval was “moving forward.” The plans were to include three improved ball fields, improved open spaces and movable bleachers.

According to Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Fitzgerald, when the county/parks foundation made the announcement that it was going to begin the planning and work on improvements to the fairgrounds oval, “several people began indicating that there was coal beneath the area that may need to be addressed when we moved forward.”

Downs said neither Fitzgerald nor the county are proposing mining at the park.

“In speaking with the Friends of South Park, the group indicated that they were interested in finding out more, which is the only thing that the Executive has proposed,” Downs said. “We want to know if there are minerals there, how much, whether they could be extracted, how and all of the other pertinent details.”

It is not known how much coal could be underneath the oval or how much it could be worth. As for a timetable for potential mining, Downs said there isn’t one.

“We do not even know if there will be any further action,” Downs said.

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