On Saturday, June 25th the Center for Coalfield Justice hosted our 16th annual DRYerson Festival at Ryerson Station State Park. Around 80 visitors of all ages attended the event to celebrate Greene County’s only state park. They were treated to delicious food from 5 Kidz Kandy, tie-dye, snacks, and games from CCJ staff, and great music by guitarist Dan Baker. Three lucky winners also went home with fun raffle prizes from a selection of local businesses.
As always, we took time to remember the loss of Duke Lake to coal mining damage and to inform attendees about the work being done by CCJ to protect the park and the improvements that are happening through the Re-Vision Ryerson public process. CCJ is gathering surveys and personal stories about Ryerson for use in an upcoming Re-Vision Ryerson Task Force meeting and filing a request for information from the state to track funding and projects for the park. Stay tuned for more information about those efforts as they become available and if you haven’t done so already, take the survey here.
Along with the many DRYerson attendees, the park was nearly full of residents enjoying the newly renovated pool, splash park, campground, trails, and other amenities. Many of these attractions were funded in part by $36 million in settlement funds from CONSOL Energy in 2013. When it was later announced that the dam could not be replaced due to continued ground movement, CCJ worked to ensure that the resources remained available for improvements to the park rather than being dispersed elsewhere. Now, 17 years after we lost the lake, we are finally seeing the park start to return to form as an economic driver and recreational hub for the community. With millions of dollars still available to invest in the future of the park, CCJ’s role in guiding meaningful upgrades to the park that align with what the community wants to see is more important than ever. If this Saturday was any indication, Ryerson is on its way back to being a gem of Greene County and we couldn’t be more excited to see what’s in store for it.