CHEROKEE COUNTY, KS.--- Cherokee County residents get the chance to express their concerns on a restoration project on old mine land. Citizens believe this decision was made without them. However, the projects leaders disagree, saying they did try to let the public know about the renovations.
"We've put these projects out there in the past and haven't really gotten a whole lot of response, people coming in to look at the proposed plans and so forth," said David Jenkins, Kansas Mine Land Wildlife Manager.
Two state departments hosted a public meeting today. It focused on the progress and future plans of the Deer Creek Reclamation Project.
"Kansas Wildlife and Parks entered into an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and they came in and started doing work on the mine area. No one cares more about this area than the folks that live here," said Jake Laturner, Kansas State Senator.
Cherokee County citizens had several questions and concerns about the 135 acre revitalization.
"It's like the government's not listening to what the people want. That's the main thing, and these folks have got a legitimate right because they love this place, this is their home," said Mike Houser, Cherokee County Resident.
After a two hour meeting, both parties agree the underlying issue is the lack of communication.
"I think in the future, we'll do a much better job of putting the proposed projects out in front of the people so they can ask the questions," said Jenkins.
In fact, state lawmakers hope this problem can be avoided with future plans.
"It's become apparent to me that we're going to have to pursue some legislation in Topeka that requires some local approval before something like this can take place," said Laturner.
The purpose of the Deer Creek Reclamation Plan is to create better wildlife habitat on the property, although some citizens argue with the goal behind the idea. The Deer Creek Mine revitalization started in January and will be complete in two to three months.
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