GIRARD, KS.--- The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism held a public meeting tonight about the state's Mined Area Reclamation Project on the Deer Creek Mine area.
"It's going to improve safety, infrastructure, and habitat on the area," said David Jenkins, Kansas Wildlife Manager.
State Wildlife Manager David Jenkins says the plan is to restore 135 acres of native grass and the 20 acres of surface water, which in turn could bring more tourism.
"It's going to create diversity, it's going to create more valuable wildlife habitat," said Jenkins.
Girard Resident Donald Scales worked in the Southeast Kansas mine pits for 23 years. He is wondering why the state wants to change them.
"There is no safety hazard to them or nothing. They're killing fish, never took the fish out. And destroyed public hunting and fishing, and all that," said Donald Scales, Girard Resident.
The project will cost $3.5 million, too much for Scales taste.
"State of Kansas is broke, has been broke for awhile, they don't need to be wasting this money," said Scales.
Labette County Tourism Director Jim Zaleski says keeping the mines intact is important because of their rich history in the area.
"Make sure that we don't lose a natural resource that's first priority, and second priority is plan to have that natural resource can be here for future generations to come," said Jim Zaleski, Labette County Tourism Director.
If the state works on the mines, Zaleski hopes the land will continue to be available for everyone.
"It needs to remain public, open to the public to be utilized in the pursuit of fun and the outdoors," said Zaleski.
Jenkins says funds for this project came from a nationwide tax put on coal being mined and given to states with abandoned mines. The state has restored mines for 20 years and have spent just under $10 million so far.
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