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Parsons Council hears from group

December 14, 2012
By Casey Houser - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Parsons City Council heard from the Cheat River Water Trail Committee Tuesday about the designation of a water trail that will stretch through Tucker County.

Janet Preston, a member of the committee, explained the basic ideas and principles behind the water trail, and addressed concerns brought up by council members about the trail creation.

"It's a way of making use of the river, (to) promote the river and make use of the river easier for the public," Preston said. "It's an effort to designate certain access points and display what you can do along the river."

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Preston said the trail will begin in Hendricks and extend to Rowlesburg, a 39.4 mile stretch.

The Water Trail Committee is attempting to gain support for the creation of access points along the Cheat River, she said. This will include basic access to the river, handicap access and educational items such as kiosks and maps.

Basic river access, she said, will be limited to roads and ramps that allow patrons to enter the river by foot and carry in small boats, such as canoes.

Preston was clear about her committee not creating any ramps that will be suitable for motor boats.

"That, at the moment, is not our goal," she said. "Let's bring people's focus to where it's safe to enter the river.

"We are working to develop two handicap-accessible sites along the river," Preston said.

Kiosks will provide information about the surrounding area and can display maps of the river, she said. In addition, separate handouts can include maps and information about the area as a whole, such as places to eat or nearby lodging locations.

"Our biggest cost right now," Preston said, "is the production of a map."

She said her committee intends to include GPS coordinates for access points so they can be easily found in that manner.

The Water Trail Committee is currently applying for grants to help fund the project.

Councilmen Tim Auvil and Hoy Roy expressed their support of the concept.

"I'm in full favor of this," Auvil said.

"I think that it's a good idea on your part," Roy said.

Council passed a vote on a resolution of support for the creation of the trail.

Also during Tuesday's meeting:

- Roger Poling, representing the Tygarts Valley Conservation District and state Conservation Agency, spoke to council about a proposed stream restoration project at Mill Race Park in Parsons.

The WVCA is attempting to address issues at the park concerning aesthetics, maintenance and mosquitoes, Poling said.

He said the agency wants to expand the existing wetland by turning it into an educational area that is more public friendly.

"Right now, it's just in the planning stage," he said.

The planning stage includes finding out the best ways to deal with each issue listed above.

Poling said the creation of deeper water at the upper end of existing channels in the park and the introduction of animal species that are natural predators of mosquitoes can help to fight an infestation of mosquitoes.

Flora can be planted to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment, he said. And self-paced educational materials, such as signs and information kiosks, can help visitors learn about the surrounding environment.

Council voted to support the Conservation Agency in their attempts to get estimated costs and, once costs are realized, apply for necessary grants.

Any larger role that may be played by the council, Auvil said, will be determined once cost estimates and grants have been secured.

- Council voted to purchase new security cameras for the Charles W. Rosenau Municipal Building.

"These are industrial-type cameras," said City Administrator Jason Myers. "The clarity of the cameras is outstanding."

Council documents list the cameras as being purchased specifically for the main hallway, police room, city safe and parking lot area.

The Community Oriented Policing Services grant, which was scheduled to be used by the end of this year, will be used to purchase the cameras.

Leftover funds initially allocated for HVAC installation in the city building will be reallocated to pay for security camera installation.

-Council approved a holiday stipend of $100 for each active city employee.



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