Creating a Culture of Revitalization
With a goal of supporting organizations by strengthening their toolkits for community resilience and creative placemaking, Enterprise Community Partners launched the Climate and Cultural Resilience Grant Program. Coalfield Development strives to be at the forefront of solutions to rebuilding the Appalachian economy from the ground up and is featured in the field guide produced by Enterprise Community Partners along with other community development organizations.
Coalfield Development strategies for cultivating a culture of revitalization are explored in the field guide. According to the publication, the five counties encompassed by Coalfield Development’s current service area have strikingly high poverty rates. These include Mingo County at 25.8%, Lincoln County at 27.3%, McDowell County at 35.5%, Wayne County at 20.6%, and Cabell County at 21.7%. The national average is 15.5% and West Virginia overall is 18%. The coal industry is widely recognized as having played a major role in these numbers. However, Central Appalachia sets the stage to serve as a potential opportune region to positively impact global environmental health by reforestation efforts to mine lands, according to the Nature Conservancy. Coalfield Development retrains out of work coal miners in reforestation, solar installation, furniture making, and sustainable agriculture on former mountaintop removal sites.