CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – It's a 170-year-old treasure set to be uncovered and put on display. Chesterfield County and the Commonwealth are investing major dollars into the Mid-Lothian Mines, hoping people will see it as more than just a park.
Right now rays of light are the only thing that highlight nearly 200 years of history.
"This was one of the first areas mined and most significantly from the early 1800's through the early 1900's there was active mining in this area," said Stuart Connock with Chesterfield's Parks Department. "This is also the site of the first commercial railroad in the United States."
Armed with more than $300,000 of county and state grant money, Chesterfield is starting to reclaim the mines. A master plan will create a historical and educational journey.
"We have two mine shafts here that are protected now. We're going to do a permanent closure," Connock said.
More trails, an observation deck, restrooms and a trestle bridge will be added. Interpretive areas will guide residents around the mines.
"Yeah it's pretty neat," said jogger Casey Smith. "Interesting for sure."
Casey Smith breaks a sweat jogging during his lunch break. It's been his routine for months.
"The other day I stopped and actually read the signs," he said.
He's excited for the expansion- especially since it won't interfere with his jogging.
"I think anything they can do to make the neighbors more aware of what's here," said nearby resident Anne Smith. "You ought to take advantage of everything you can in the neighborhood."
Anne Smith and her K-9's live just up the road. She believes the mines are an asset.
"We take visitors when they come in- to show them- they'd never know it was here," Smith said.
"You'll come out here and you'll be able to see what these ruins are all about," added Connock.
The project will take 4 years to complete. If you have information to provide to the Chesterfield Parks Department please call 748-1623.