RCDA approves city request for event

ELKINS — The Randolph County Development Authority board of directors unanimously approved a request from the city of Elkins to use railroad yard property for an upcoming event.

In March, city officials plan to hold a “Fasnacht-like” event for the community where they will burn discarded Christmas trees and have activities for area youth.

“The city of Elkins has requested the Christmas trees that the city collects from city residents — they want to coordinate an event with Elkins Main Street and have, in essence, an Elkins-style Fasnacht burning of old man winter event where they burn the Christmas trees, burn old man winter and have a nice little community event,” Robbie Morris, Randolph County Development Authority executive director explained to board members during Tuesday’s meeting.

Morris explained the RCDA involvement would be due to the organization owning the land the city wishes to use, adding they have already spoken with officials to make sure it would be a safe event.

“They, obviously, would like to pile up and burn those Christmas trees in the rail yard, so we met with, first and foremost, the Elkins Fire Chief (Tom Meader), Bob Pingley (operations manager) from the city of Elkins, Main Street representatives, us and so forth, and we have designated an area in the rail yard that would be roped off,” Morris said.

Morris said the fire department will be in charge of lighting the Christmas trees and the city would be responsible for cleaning up after the event.

Morris said officials met with the fire department about any issues that may come up with strong wind gusts.

“There is also strong concern and there was a meeting yesterday (Monday) talking about the amount of wind that goes through the rail yard being significant,” Morris said. “If there is any kind of a wind issue, the fire department will be there to help determine that and if that is an issue it will be canceled.”

In addition to providing a fun activity, Morris said the event will assist the city of Elkins street department because they will not have to work to destroy the trees.

“The other nice thing about this in talking to (Pingley) is it will save his already very stressed street department time and money by not having to chip up all the trees and haul them off to a landfill that accepts lawn debris,” he said.

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, who serves as an RCDA board member, said they anticipate collecting between 125 and 150 trees for the event. The event is scheduled for March 19.

Broughton and Second Ward Elkins City Councilman Charlie Friddle, who also sits on the RCDA board of directors, recused themselves from voting on the request.

The next meeting of the RCDA board of directors will take place at 4 p.m. on Feb. 6, at the Wood Technology Center, located on 11th Street in Elkins.