Public pool proposed for Elkins

About 30 members of the community, including Mayor Van Broughton and Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, gathered at Glendale Park in Elkins Wednesday evening to discuss the possibility of installing a public pool in town.

Everything from a splash pad for kids to a regulation-sized all-purpose pool were discussed as possibilities.

“There isn’t anything like this in the area,” Broughton said. “I think it would be a great addition to the community.”

With facilities at Davis & Elkins College not always open to the public and the Elks Club pool only open seasonally, Broughton and others decided to meet about what it would take to build an all-purpose outdoor public pool.

“With such a growing interest in the sport of swimming, a regulation-size pool that could be used year round would be a great addition for the city,” said Jean Schmitt, former swim team coach for Elkins High School.

Broughton and Logan Smith, from the Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission, directed the meeting, designed to garner community feedback for the project, which turned out to be very positive.

The general consensus was that a pool would be a great addition to the community and to Glendale Park, which is the prime target location for the project.

Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority, proposed some land on the southern end of the Elkins Railyard as an alternative site for the pool.

Broughton suggested that, with some focus and intense planning, it could be possible to install a splash pad as early as next year, with the intention of adding a pool to the site later.

The biggest issues named Wednesday were finding the correct amount of land – at least two acres that would be approved by the county assessor – and finding funding.

Shelley Depp, president of the Randolph County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board, who also took minutes for the meeting, suggested that the public look into researching grant money available for the bulk of the funding.

Broughton said that some local businesses and private donors are already interested in helping fund the project, as well.

Additional expenditures include bathrooms, an office, parking, a concession stand, paid staff and insurance costs once the actual facility is built.

Some residents who live on Glendale Drive, next to the proposed pool site, said they approved of the project but the traffic flow to and from the park would have to be regulated for their safety.

“We need to be aware that this might take some time before this can happen,” Campbell said. “We need to bring in professionals and have them approve of the best location for a project like this. If we are going to do something like this we need to do it right.”

After the meeting, Broughton said, “If we come together and work hard, I don’t see how we can’t do this.”

The group plans to hold another meeting on the issue July 24 at 6 p.m. at Elkins City Park. For more information on the Elkins pool project, check out the Facebook group “Community Support for a Public Splash Pad/Pool in Elkins WV.”