Foundation takes ‘boulder’ approach

HAMBLETON – The Tucker Community Foundation kicked off its Boulder Park project Friday by accepting a $25,000 donation from the Dominion Foundation.

Diane Hinkle, development director for the foundation, said the proposed project will help Tucker County in a multitude of ways.

“We have unique circumstances in this county,” Hinkle said. “We are a population of less than 7,000 but we balloon to 10,000 to 12,000 on any given weekend or holiday.”

Hinkle said there are challenges regarding the county tax base as well.

“So much of our county is federally and state owned and another large portion is subject to reduced taxation,” Hinkle said. “So we have about 19 percent of the county carrying the burden.”

Hinkle said all of these circumstances have a negative impact on the county’s emergency medical services and their ability to deliver the services that are needed in the area. She said the Tucker Community Foundation recognized the problem and is working to help.

“We cannot fix the problems, but we can help,” Hinkle said. “Our goal is to build a sustainable source of funding, an endowed fund that would benefit emergency services.”

Hinkle said the mission is to create opportunities.

“With Corridor H coming through, it is unearthing lots of rocks,” she said. “So we are using rocks as a focal point to build awareness for our emergency medical services in a unique way.”

Hinkle said a public boulder park is planned in the town of Davis, close to the proposed Corridor H exit. It will be located near the Davis Ballpark and will be highly visible, she said.

“It will be a nice welcome into Tucker County from Corridor H,” Davis said. “The park will also create another section of non-motorized trail that will connect with the proposed rail trail. It’s kind of multi- purposed.”

Hinkle said the process of creating the park began last summer. Stakeholders were invited to come together and included Tucker Community Foundation, the town of Davis, Western Pocahontas, the West Virginia Division of Highways, Heart of the Highlands, Dominion Foundation, First Energy, J.F. Allen, the Department of Natural Resources, Tucker County Planning Commission, Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Commission, Canaan Valley Institute, Tucker County Convention Visitors Bureau, the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce, Tucker County Trails, Tucker County High School and the Tucker County Board of Education.

Hinkle said the community has supported the collaboration.

“The boulders in the park will be manufactured rocks with holds on them,” Hinkle said. “Routes can be changed. The plan is to have three boulders – a children’s boulder, an intermediate boulder and a large size boulder. Climbers do not need all of the equipment to climb and the area around the boulders will be rubberized mulch for a soft landing.”

Hinkle said the assets the Foundation raises will help create both the park and a fund for the ongoing maintenance of the park, as well as build the endowment for the Tucker County EMS.

The total cost for the Boulder Park is estimated at $500,000. She said the Dominion Foundation kick-off donation will fund $15,000 for the Boulder Park project and $10,000 to establish the Tucker County EMS endowment fund.

The Foundation is seeking grant support and donations from the general public. Hinkle said any size donations are needed and greatly appreciated. Donor levels are $10,000 and up, Mountaineer; $1,000 to $9,999, Crux; $101 to $999, Ascent; and up to $100, Anchor. Donations may be sent to the Tucker Community Foundation at P.O. Box 491 in Parsons.

Hinkle said another way to help is spreading the word about the project and liking the Facebook page