BY KENDALL FORWARD, WTOV 9
CADIZ, Ohio — Ohio Senator Lou Gentile recently approved funding that will lead to the groundbreaking of the new mine safety training center in Harrison County.
The money came from the Ohio Controlling Board, which approved capital dollars to start the $2 million investment from the state in 2014.
Gentile approved more than $160,000 requested by the Department of Natural Resources for the pre-construction stage of the training center.
After a long battle to keep it the county, the money shows progress is being made toward the completion of the center.
“Showing that progress is being made, which is here in coal country, and you can’t put a price on the health and safety of our coal miners,” Gentile said. “They deserve the best quality state of the art training facility.”
This site, which sits off Industrial Park Road, is now an empty field. But it’s soon where officials will break ground on the facility.
The decision to keep the site in Harrison County didn’t come without a fight. In 2013, the state announced the center would close and relocate. Because of Gentile’s efforts with Harrison County officials and the United Mine Workers, the relocation was reconsidered .
“We really persuaded the state to keep it here, and this recent announcement is a positive step forward to see this facility finally be constructed and finally built,” Gentile said.
The center trains more than 3,000 miners per year to respond to safety and health hazards.
The progress is a win for the county, state, and region, in more ways than one, Gentile said.
“It provides an opportunity for miners all over the region to come to this area, which is an economic boost as well,” he said.
The new safety center will provide an indoor mine simulator. As of now, the official groundbreaking date has not been set but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.