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Abandoned stone mine turns into mine of enjoyment

(Xinhua)    14:43, August 04, 2020

A newly-opened amusement park in the city of Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, has recently become a hot topic among local residents.

Although the park was officially opened on July 11, people had started to snap tickets up by the end of June. So far, the park has welcomed not only local residents but also stars and film crews of several popular entertainment programs.

"We can play in the water and snow here in the hot summer. It's a great place to relax and have parties," said Wu Shu, who visited the park with her friends.

Another reason why the amusement park has gone viral is that it was rebuilt above an abandoned mine measuring more than 100 meters in depth. Dubbed as "the kingdom of ice and snow on a mine," the park attracts a lot of hits on social media platforms.

In fact, the project was part of the city's efforts to restore ecology and boost urban development.

Situated in the Pingtang area on the outskirts of Changsha, the location was a cluster of more than 30 construction material and chemical enterprises in the 1950s, which caused serious pollution. The contradiction between economic development and environmental protection was prominent.

"The sky was gray and dusty at that time. People who lived around here hardly opened the windows. Our windowsills, even the leaves on the trees, were enveloped by dust," said 54-year-old local resident Xie Yiqiang.

It was not until 2008 that the municipal government shut down dozens of cement and chemical enterprises, which greatly reduced pollution to both rivers and the air.

Among the closed companies, one cement company left a huge stone pit with a depth of more than 100 meters and an open area of over 180,000 square meters, like an enormous scar on the ground.

In order to "heal" the wound, Hunan Xiangjiang New Area Investment Group Co., Ltd. poured in 12 billion yuan (about 1.7 billion U.S. dollars) to rebuild the abandoned mine into an amusement park, and the construction work began in November 2015.

Meanwhile, supporting resources including a shopping street, a movie theme town and tourist attractions in the vicinity also injected impetus into the old industrial area.

"In the past, on a clear day, you would be covered with dust, while on a rainy day, you would be splashed with mud," Xie recalled.

"However, I can now invite my friends to my place with confidence. With convenient traffic, I feel much happier living here," Xie added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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