Buchanan County

Buchanan County, highlighted in map of Virginia

Buchanan County is in the coal country of the Appalachian plateau. Its economic activity is driven by the demand for coal and the demand for miners to extract that coal from both underground and strip mines.

The Town of Grundy is located on the floodplain of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River, which flows into the Ohio River at _______. The Levisa Fork floods regularly, cauding damage and deaths in Grundy. In the 1990's, the Corps of Engineers planned to build a flood wall that would displace some of the commercial properties between US 460 and the river. At the same time, the Virginia Department of Transportation planned to widen US 460, causing more disruption to "downtown" Grundy.

In an innovative partnership, the Federal and state agencies worked with local officials to create a different solution, other than leaving just a remnant of the commercial district separated from the river by a massive flood wall and 4-lane divided highway. Nearly all of Grundy's commercial district was replaced by a new development on the other side of the Levisa Fork.

Engineers carved a flat plateau from the mountain, high enough to be safe from floods. A two-story parking garage is faced on three sides by stores, and the WalMart is located on the third floor. Wal*Mart shoppers use escalators to climb to that top floor, and parallel to the excalators are unusual tracks to move loaded shopping carts down to the level where customer cars were parked.

the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River carved a 1000-foot deep canyon through Pine Mountain
the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River carved a 1000-foot deep canyon through Pine Mountain
Buchanan County Courthouse was not moved from its site in Grundy
Buchanan County Courthouse was not moved from its site in Grundy
the commercial district of Grundy was moved across the Levisa Fork and is now achored by a WalMart
the commercial district of Grundy was moved across the Levisa Fork and is now achored by a Wal*Mart
the Clinchfield Railroad beat the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) and built the line through the Breaks
the Clinchfield Railroad beat the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) and built the line through the Breaks

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Appalachian School of Law is located in Grundy
Appalachian School of Law is located in Grundy
the Grundy WalMart, on the third floor, has escalators for people and special tracks for shopping carts
the Grundy Wal*Mart, on the third floor, has escalators for people and special tracks for shopping carts
the flood wall gate is closed to protect the courthouse and remains of downtown Grundy, if ____ Creek floods
the flood wall gate is closed to protect the courthouse and remains of downtown Grundy, if ____ Creek floods
US 460, looking east from new bridge across Levisa Fork leading to new Grundy
US 460, looking east from new bridge across Levisa Fork leading to new Grundy

(click on images for larger versions)

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