An additional grant is assisting Upper Tennessee River Roundtable and Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful with development of an outdoor classroom and community park in Lee County.
Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful received a $20,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful through Lowe's. This funding is added to the $196,000 previously awarded to Upper Tennessee River Roundtable from other grant sources for the project, which is located on a former coal transfer station site near St. Charles.
The Keep America Beautiful/Lowe's grant is paying for fencing, a walking trail, signs, trash and ash receptacles, plants and flowers. Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful and Upper Tennessee River Roundtable are partnering with the Lowe's store in Abingdon on the project.
The outdoor classroom and community park site is under construction adjacent to Straight Creek near St. Charles in the Stone Creek community of Lee County.
Upper Tennessee River Roundtable initially received a $166,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant for land acquisition, reclamation, stream restoration and outdoor classroom development. The Roundtable purchased the land and transferred ownership to Lee County with the assistance of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Daniel Boone Soil and Water Conservation District. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds came from a settlement established after a toxic spill into the Powell River.
The next step involved restoring the stream and stabilizing the stream bank, which took place in August and September. Additional grant assistance for this phase was provided by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Upper Tennessee River Roundtable also secured grants from Appalachian Coal Country Team Reforestation Project and LG&E KU Plant for the Planet for purchasing trees, as well as additional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds for the stream bank stabilization and stream restoration. Pizza Inn of Abingdon donated more than a case of pizza boxes that were used for molds to create the stepping stones.
The Roundtable is a nonprofit watershed organization focusing on pollution prevention and improvement projects for the Clinch, Powell and Holston rivers in Southwest Virginia, all part of the Upper Tennessee River drainage. Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful is the largest regional nonprofit affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and includes nine counties and two cities.
Photos show (at top, left) the temporary signage adjacent to a stepping stone area,with many stones made by community volunteers; (at top, center) volunteers from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps River 6 Team and Appalachian Sustainable Development planting trees on site. (The team worked for two weeks at the site); and (at top, left) volunteers helping to build the walking trail.
Others pictured include: (at right, top) an L&M Construction Co. crew and volunteer Lawrence Tankersley of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, Energy installing trash cans; (at right, center) Katie Commender, an Office of Surface Mining/Volunteers In Service To America member with Appalachian Sustainable Development, coordinating part of the tree planting which included nontimber forest products, such as paw paw, persimmon and blueberry; and (at right, bottom) AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps River 6 Team sowing flower seeds and plant live tree stakes on the stream bank after restoration.
For more information about the project, contact Upper Tennessee River Roundtable and Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful at 276-628-1600.
Share Your Story features stories written and contributed by our readers. Today's featured story and the accompanying photos were submitted by Carol Doss, the coordinator for the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable and Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful. If you'd like to submit your story for consideration, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org with Share Your Story in the subject line.