In the News: Coal Mine Transforming McLeansboro

HAMILTON COUNTY — A major transformation in McLeansboro is underway in anticipation of new jobs coming to the area. White Oak Resources plans to open a new coal mine next year. McLeansboro officials say that means the city’s economy will boom. Looking at the McLeansboro’s square, you’ll notice empty store fronts and boarded up windows. It appears the town is barely holding on. But if you look closer, you’ll see that’s all about to change. “We’re seeing a lot of development,” said Mayor Dick Dietz. “They’ve really made a couple buildings down here really nice,” said resident Patricia Irvin.Irvin is noticing the change first hand as she prepares to open her first restaurant. She says one key thing prompted her to open in the town square.”We know that the coal mines are coming in, we know that they’re hiring from town, yes, absolutely big incentive,” she said.Just a few miles out of town, the underground coal mine is preparing to open for business. Mayor Dietz said once it does, it means hundreds of new jobs for the area and hundreds of new residents to serve. So he’s working to completely revamp the town.

“This has opened up a lot of opportunity for more businesses, more sales tax,” said Dietz.

For the past ten months, Mayor Dietz has worked closely with independent developer and realtor Josh Gidcumb. Since then, sidewalks have been replaced, vacant buildings have been sold and an old hospital and business have been torn down to make way for a new park.

“You can see the improvements, you can see our square changing,” said Dietz.

And Gidcumb said the changes are just beginning.

“(Next year) you should notice a lot of these older buildings, renovated back to what they were initially in the early 1900s so you’ll start seeing facades on the buildings,” said Gidcumb.

Gidcumb is working on attracting more small retail and manufacturing businesses to finish filling up the downtown and preparing to give the courthouse square a facelift. Hopefully restoring McLeansboro to the place life long residents, like the mayor, remember fondly.

“I’m just tickled to death to see the downtown renovated to where it was back when I grew up as a kid,” said Dietz.

The coal mine is expected to open sometime next spring, and will soon be looking to hire miners. City officials are anticipating a boom in real estate with the new jobs.


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Filed under Business, Community Information, Economy, Hamilton County Community, Investment Property

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