Friends of Cheat get $3 million grant from West Virginia Abandoned Mine Land monies

Walking on the Cheat River Trail in Preston County from Manheim to Caddell Mountain Bridge will get $3 million easier in the months ahead.

Make that, $3.014 million.

That’s how much federal grant money the Friends of Cheat advocacy group received Monday in Morgantown.

The Abandoned Mine Land Grant monies are administered by the state of West Virginia.

Amanda Pitzer, the executive director of Friends of Cheat, said the group applied for the grant over the summer, then waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

When the phone rang in her office two weeks ago, she was rendered as (almost) speechless as a lottery winner.

“I was like, ‘Oh, wow, we got it? Really? Oh, wow.’”
Pitzer and several members of her group were among the recipients who came out to the Courtyard Marriott in Granville for the presentation.

Gov. Jim Justice was originally scheduled to hand out the checks to Friends of Cheat and other recipients, but prior commitments and weather kept him in Charleston.

“These grants are essential as we continue to grow West Virginia and provide programs that help our communities and citizens,” the governor said in a press release.

“The multiplier effect on our return is at least eight times, and many times, it is more.”
Friends of Cheat will use the money to pave a nearly 9-mile stretch of the trail while improving river access and a community park.

Other local recipients:
Mylan Park’s Pace Enterprises was awarded a $59,400 grant to fund its recycling operation.
Monongalia Habitat for Humanity received $8,676, which will be
used for its paint-recyc-ling program.
Westover will use its $240,000 for new sidewalks. So will Bruceton Mills, with its $150,000 reward.
Preston County Parks and Recreation received $80,000 to design a new
10-mile corridor along
the West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail.