“As these mines age, and the tops and pillars start to give … other communities are going to have these same problems… You’re sitting on a bomb, waiting for the fuse (to go off).”
-Mayor Gloria Sidar, on subsidence impacts
via State Journal-Register — It’s been more than 60 years since the last coal mine closed in the Macoupin County town of Benld, but its legacy is found in the name of its high school teams — the Gillespie Miners — and its economic development promoting arm, the Coal County Chamber of Commerce.
The long-dormant mines also rear their heads at random intervals, causing cave-ins that have damaged dozens of homes and led to the demolition of a nearly new elementary school in 2009. The budget to repair city services after cave-ins, such as a municipal water line that burst when the sinking ground damaged foundations at 15 homes one year ago, in this 1,500-person town is slim.
The Benld City Council is on board with the tax proposal, voting unanimously Monday to endorse a symbolic resolution in favor of it. Sidar and her city council colleagues have more modest, but no less pressing, budget concerns: emergency repairs due to cave-ins.
“As these mines age, and the tops and pillars start to give … other communities are going to have these same problems,” said Sidar, 65, a retired junior high teacher whose late husband worked at a coal mine in nearby Carlinville. Her home was among the damaged structures last year. “You’re sitting on a bomb, waiting for the fuse (to go off).”