Group addresses parking concerns

BUCKHANNON – On Thursday, community members discussed several ongoing projects, from parking problems to promoting literacy.

Create Buckhannon met at noon at C.J. Maggies on Main Street.

Members discussed the status of the Little Free Libraries project in Upshur County, as well as an ongoing project to study parking in the downtown area. They also heard a brief update on the city’s community garden.

Member James T. Farrell provided a report on the parking study. The report focused on North Kanawha Street, Willard Way and Spring Street as possible areas for parking reconfiguration.

He noted the three streets physically meet end-to-end and roughly form a horseshoe, or a circle with the addition of Main Street. He said there were several loading zones for businesses that are no longer in operation, as well as other space, that could be utilized for parking.

The parking situation has remained largely the same in those three areas since the issue was last studied by the group in 2008.

In his report, Farrell also said it would be a good idea for officials to place parking rules on the city’s website.

“This would allow people coming from out of town to learn them,” he said.

Member C.J. Rylands said he wants the community to have an open discussion about parking in the city. Any information brought forth by Create Buckhannon would be purely observational.

“We don’t want to put things forward as if to say, ‘this has to happen today.’ These are just options. The more information you have, the more informed your decisions are,” he said. “We just want to keep the conversation going.”

Rylands reported that more Little Free Libraries are popping up around the city. These small, decorative boxes contain books for people to borrow or take. Anyone who takes a book from a Little Free Library is encouraged to return it or leave one, or more, in its place. There are no late fees and no library card is required.

Four of the Little Free Libraries are in place, one at the IGA in Rock Cave, one in front of the Chamber Visitors Center on Main Street and one each at Washington District and Hodgesville elementary schools.

Four other elementary schools in Upshur County have received Little Free Libraries.

Kristy Stewart is an Americorps VISTA member with Upshur County Literacy Volunteers. Her VISTA project for the year is to assure 25 of the Little Free Libraries are in place by this time next year.

The group also heard a report from Buck Edwards, who spearheaded the community garden project on Baxter Street.

Edwards said volunteers have begun to harvest fresh produce, some of which is going to the Upshur Cooperative Parish House to address nutrition needs in Upshur County.

Create Buckhannon received a grant from Try This West Virginia for the project. Try This officials visited the community garden earlier this week and brought a crew from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, who got footage of volunteers harvesting vegetables for broadcast on the station.