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County moving forward with splash pad project

ELKINS — The Randolph County Commission is moving forward with a pool/splash pad project that will involve expanding the existing pool at the Elks Club and making it open to the public.

“Last September, we really started looking hard at this,” County Commission Mark Scott said during the most recent commission meeting. “We met with some companies that do splash pads, we started looking at properties.

“We looked at four or five sites within the county. We looked at the 4-H Camp, we looked at some sites within the City of Elkins.” He added officials also looked at two sites in Beverly.

“But the bones and the structure of what is there at the Elks Club give us a great foundation and will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Scott said. “We got a preliminary idea of what it might cost to fix the pool, and it looks like what we’ll be able to apply for in the grant we’ll be able to fix the pool and also do a splash pad.”

Scott said the proposed splash pad would be 2,500 square feet.

“That would give us options for the older kids, teenagers, adults to come and swim at the pool, but then the younger kids could play at the splash pad. They’ve already got a bathhouse there that’s in good condition. They’ve already got the filters and pumps,” he said.

Commission President David Kesling said commissioners met with Bridgeport officials about a splash pad originally, but some residents said they would prefer a pool.

“In a way everyone in the county will benefit from this,” Kesling said. “It’s centrally located. It’s not in Elkins. That was one of the concerns, a lot of the county residents didn’t want it in Elkins. Right, so this is not in Elkins. This is outside of Elkins.”

Scott noted, “We looked at, ‘What’s going to be the lowest cost, and give us the most bang for our bucks.’ And you look at that Elks property and there it is.”

He also pointed out the Elks Club already has a large parking lot.

“As a result of the pool splash pad project that we are considering, it’s going to require that documents be formed for the sale of the property,” Scott said. “The property will be sold, if we approve it, by the Elks to the Randolph County Commission, and then the Randolph County Commission will then lease it back to the Elks. The reason that we’re doing that is because the Elks have graciously agreed to, as they’ve done very well for decades while the pool was open, to staff the pool.

“We want this open to every citizen in our county. We want everyone who wants to enjoy this pool to have the opportunity to do so.

“We need to do a lease agreement, sales agreement, and this property has to be surveyed. Once we get that done we’ll be able to apply for a grant,” Scott said, noting an engineering study also must be done.

The county will apply for $500,00 in the form of a West Virginia Land and Water Conservation Grant. The grant will require a 50/50 funding match from the county, which commissioners said would partly come from Coal Service/Coal Reallocation funding, which comes in from taxes paid to the county by coal companies.

The commission voted unanimously to hire Busch, Zurbuch & Thompson LLC to prepare a longterm lease and sales agreement with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of USA.

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton spoke during the meeting’s public comment section to offer his support to the project.

“I’m here as the mayor, of course, but I’m here as a private citizen, too,” Broughton said. “I just want to give a big shout out and thank you” to the the commission and county employees “for putting together this package. And also a big thank you to Stan Teets and the Elks organization.

“This is going to be a big win-win for our city, our community and our county,” he said. “It’s very important. It’s something that’s been close to my heart for many years.

“It there’s anything you need … I’m here for you at any time to volunteer, to sit on any board or anything. I’ve always said, ‘Our youth is our future tomorrow.’ What you all are doing today will be a big impact on our youth and our adults.”

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