UBB memorial could be ready next month

THE FINAL finishing touches are being made on the construction of the Upper Big Branch memorial monument and plaza, created to remember the 29 workers who died in an April 2010 explosion at the southern West Virginia mine, with developers saying the site may be dedicated as soon as July.
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The UBB Miners Memorial

Donna Schmidt

Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Group vice-president Mike Gwinn on Tuesday told ILN contractor Pray Construction wrapped up plaza construction last week.

It was now complete except for the landscaping, for which the group retained locally based Valley Gardens.

Gwinn said the last portion of the work should begin within the next seven to 10 days.

“Now we just have to wait on the granite monument, the bronze First Responders Tribute relief and interpretive signage to be delivered,” he said, referring to the components of the memorial site that will illustrate the role of mining in the region and remember the workers killed on April 5, 2010 at the Raleigh County mine.

Those items should arrive at the site in Whitesville and be in place by the middle of next month.

“We are shooting for a late July dedication date [but] no date has been decided on yet,” he said, adding that invitations to the dedication ceremony would go out next month to family members and guests once the date was known.

The UBB Miners Memorial Group raised about $US700,000 to develop the site and the money left over after its completion would be earmarked for park upkeep, the site’s website presence and a planned scholarship fund.

About $250,000 of the money raised was contributed by Alpha Natural Resources, which purchased former UBB mine owner Massey Energy last June.

On April 4, the eve of the blast’s two-year anniversary, Alpha announced it would permanently close UBB.

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