Article By Warren Hinkle
Smith Ridge residents gathered on a cold morning for the ground breaking of their new water project. The cold weather did not stop the volunteers in the community to help the PSA employees with the project. The volunteers will not receive any pay for the project, yet they all believe that running water in their homes more than compensates for their time. PSA member, Allen Hess, told the residents that they were benefitting from donations by the Thompson Foundation and CONSOL, who made the lines to Jewell Ridge possible. The Smith Ridge lines will conect to the Jewell Ridge lines.
~By Fred Baldwin (Freelance writer for the Appalachian Regional Commision)
Smith Ridge Water Project covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission. View complete story…
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.
Situated in Tazwell County, Smith Ridge, a small mining community, had never had pipelines. Most of the homes in the area lacked indoor bathrooms and running water. The community had been relying on well water and springs for over 100 years, which had begun to run dry. In 1998, Smith Ridge combined with Self-Help Virginia to lay seven miles of pipeline through the community to access running water. With the volunteers of the Smith Ridge community, a project that would have taken six to nine months for a contractor to achieve, was completed in fewer than three months.