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Justice announces funding for former mine

FILE - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Nursing home visits are being allowed again in West Virginia as the state focuses on coronavirus outbreaks in the general populations of individual counties without clamping down on areas without them. Justice warned Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, that the visits could end quickly in some places if further outbreaks occur within nursing homes themselves. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, File)

ROCK CREEK, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Friday he is committing $39 million toward development of the former Hobet mine site in Boone County, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

Justice said the money will go toward developing an access road to the site and an intersection at the entrance that would include a bridge that will allow further development of the Rock Creek Development Park.

“In addition to that, today I’m announcing that the West Virginia National Guard will resume their activities at Hobet, and today I am directing our DNR to explore all of the possibilities here for recreational and wildlife enhancement and growth to absolutely inspire more and more activities on this property,” Justice said.

Earlier this month, the West Virginia National Guard said it was pulling out of the site and relocating its operations elsewhere.

Justice’s administration initially committed $30 million to the site in 2017, but the project but saw no dirt moved. Justice said that’s because the state was in bad shape fiscally at the time.

“In 2017, the state was bankrupt, and the prospect of bringing business here by building a road to nowhere and everything and bring new business here really was a tough pull,” he said. “Today it is a different time. …Recruitment now is a real possibility.”

Highways Commissioner Jimmy Wriston confirmed that the project was ready to go.

“We’re ready now, as soon as we clear the right of way,” Wriston said alongside the governor.