AMD & Art constructed a park located in Vintondale, Pennsylvania on thirty-five acres of reclaimed mine land that once hosted the heart of this small mining town — The Vinton Colliery, a complex with major buildings and the Pennsylvania Railroad line that connected the Borough with the outside world. Bordering the northern edge of the site, that railroad bed is now the Ghost Town Rail Trail, which hosts approximately 75,000 users annually. The eastern and southern boundary is the South Branch of the Blacklick Creek which has been severely impacted by abandoned mine drainage (AMD). Beyond the creek is the Borough of Vintondale, home to over 500 residents, many of them descendants of those who first came here during the coal-mining era, roughly 1906 to 1956.
This site is one of the most interesting watershed restoration projects within Western Pennsylvania in that is attempted to combine water treatment, landscape reclamation, recreation, history and art into a single community park.
The Great Map Project, a large mosaic inspired by the original 1923 Sanborn Insurance Map of the Vinton Colliery sits on one side of the Ghost Town Trail. The 18 x 22 foot platform holds a 9 x 15 foot mosaic and is located across from the former entrance to the Mine No 6 portal. Framing the map are 131 granite tiles, 54 of which are laser-etched with community images, newspaper headlines and text. The word ‘hope’ has been translated into 26 of the languages once spoken in Vintondale. BCWA has obtained several grants to have restoration work done on the mosaic.
Adjacent to the mosaic is the Mine No. 6 portal. The reconstructed 6 x 12 foot mine portal entrance stands exactly where the once-bustling Mine No. 6 entrance w located. The original opening was caved in for safety in the 1960s. The image of men in the middle of a shift-change, taken from 1938 home movie footage contributed by Vintondale resident Julius Morey, is now etched life-sized in black polished stone.
Another component to the project was the construction of a soccer field for the community. Also, the Vintondale Mine 33 discharge water was to be treated by a passive treatment system. The system was constructed in 2001. Unfortunately that system did not perform as designed and has been abandoned.