Save Coonskin Park organization gather signatures to protect park

Published: Jun. 11, 2023 at 10:51 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A community group in Kanawha County is working to save a portion of Coonskin Park which could be be affected by West Virginia International Yeager Airport proposed project.

Gathering signatures, Jeremy Severn, Save Coonskin Park spokesperson, said the group hopes to bring awareness and change.

“The number one thing...that we’re pushing against is to keep the runway from coming in through here,” he said.

West Virginia International Yeager Airport’s proposed plan involves expanding the existing runway by 300 feet and a fill area for safety.

The fill area would cut into a portion of Coonskin Park and be used instead of the current engineered material arresting system.

WV International Yeager Airport sent a statement that reads in part, “The proposed airfield, safety, and terminal improvements to satisfy immediate and long-term needs at West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) are in the early stages of planning with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As such, it would be premature to comment on specific details as no definitive plans have been made. The FAA will consider all reasonable alternatives for the project with a full and fair discussion of the significant environmental impacts of the Proposed Action. West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) is committed to operating our facilities in an environmentally responsible manner to conserve the existing resources unique to CRW while also providing a safe and pleasant experience for the public at large and the Airport’s customers, vendors, and staff. We’re working to prepare the airport for the future of aviation, to ensure CRW can continue to serve as the gateway to West Virginia and the world by retaining and attracting additional air service.

Still, in an early stage, Severn and others hope an alternative will come in the future.

“Hike the trails, visit the playgrounds in the upper part, visit the shelters in the upper part, and just drive through to get a sense of the magnitude... [of the] mountaintop removal site to be used as fill dirt to shift the runway,” he said. “It’s still not a done deal. There’s still plenty of fights to go.”