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Ivey announces Grand River Technology Park project to reclaim abandoned mining sites

A view of downtown Birmingham.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Labor’s Abandoned Mine Land program and the United States Steel Corporation announced a collaborative effort to create the new Grand River Technology Park and relocate the Southern Museum of Flight.

The US Steel Corporation received a $6 million grant in 2018 from the Alabama Department of Labor’s Abandoned Mine Land program to develop the Grand River Technology Park. The park project will reclaim and transform 105 acres of undeveloped land and several abandoned coal mines.

The project is estimated to create 1,200 new employment opportunities in east Jefferson County, potentially generating an $85 million impact in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area.

“This reclamation project has the potential to bring millions of dollars in economic impact and hundreds of jobs to the greater Birmingham area,” Ivey said. “The new Grand River Technology Park will be a regional nexus for research and development, tourism and light manufacturing.”

The property includes several dangerous mines that have been abandoned since 1977. The underground mines in the area ceased operation in 1948.

“Our Abandoned Mine Land Program does a wonderful job in helping to ensure that old, dangerous mines are properly reclaimed, which eliminates safety hazards and allows the land to be redeveloped,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.

The Alabama Department of Labor’s Abandoned Mine Land program derives funds from the U.S. Treasury to reclaim and restore abandoned mine lands. To qualify for a grant, coal mine sites must have ceased operation before the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act was signed in 1977.

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