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Commission, Elks collaborating

Submitted photo From left, the Elks’ Stan Teets and Exalted Ruler Brendan Walsh meet with Randolph County Commission President David Kesling and Commissioners Chris See and Mark Scott about a pool/splash pad project.

ELKINS — A Randolph County Commissioner said county officials are “excited” to be partnering with the Elks Club to create a pool and splash pad that will be open to the public.

The plan, announced in August, involves expanding the existing pool at the Elks Club and building a splash pad that would be 2,500 square feet.

Commission President David Kesling noted that the county has had attorneys prepare a lease agreement, as well as a purchase agreement after the land was surveyed.

“So now we’re looking at approval of any documents to acquire the pool property/splash pad from the Elks,” Kesling said. “Then we would in turn lease (the property) back to the Elks.”

Commissioner Mark Scott said the Elks partnership has been the key in moving the project forward.

“We’ve been working on this for two years, since Commissioner Kesling got on the commission,” Scott said. “One of the reasons it took so long is the issue of staffing. How would we be able to staff? We can’t go out and hire county employees who are only going to work two or three months a year.

“The reason why the Elks partnership makes so much sense is, No. 1, it’s centrally located in the county, but more importantly they’ve been staffing that pool for decades. They came to us and said, ‘We will lease the pool back from you and we will staff it.’

“We’re excited to be partnering with them, and we’re looking forward to hopefully, maybe starting construction this coming spring or summer. It depends on when we get the funding,” Scott said.

Kesling noted, “The next thing we will be doing is applying for a grant to help pay for this. We’ve already talked about that we will not be using any property tax for this, it will all be from” the Coal Service/Coal Reallocation funding, which comes in from taxes paid to the county by coal companies.

The Commission voted unanimously at their most recent meeting to give Kesling the approval to sign any documents required for the acquisition of property from the Elks for the pool and splash pad.

“The engineers will give us an estimate and that way we’ll know what to apply for in the grant,” Scott said. “The next step of the process, once we approve and sign all the documentation, is to go ahead and get the engineers out and they’ll engineer a plan for both the pool and the splash pad.”

In August 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.

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