Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders discusses several options for a new or refurbished stage at Jawbone Park at the city's most recent Consolidated Public Works Board meeting. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

City board says brand-new, professional-grade stage may be erected for 2025 Festival Fridays

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Consolidated Public Works Board is planning to build a professional-grade stage in Jawbone Park after the upcoming 2024 Festival Friday season.

City Consolidated Board members evaluated two quotes presented to them at their Feb. 22 meeting. Street Department Superintendent Brad Hawkins said the quotes presented at the meeting only included the cost of materials out of which the new and improved stage would be constructed.

The first quote included the materials for a two-foot-tall, 16-foot-deep and 24-foot-long stage at $3,160. The second quote included the materials for a four-foot-tall, 29-foot-deep and 38-foot-long stage for $11,120.

The board asked if there would need to be railings on a four-foot-tall stage for safety reasons.

“We would need to do some more investigating, but I think there is an exception for stages,” City Director of Public Works Jerry Arnold said. “One of the things we have talked about is not building permanent steps – we could have removable steps.”

Consolidated Board member Pam Bucklew questioned the need to make a stage four feet tall. City Recorder Randy Sanders also said that would only increase labor and the need for storage.

“If you put an event up there and you have people in the field, there is a drop in visibility, so if people want to sit on their lawn chairs, they really can’t see,” Sanders said. “Four feet is also the designation for a professional stage.”

Arnold said there was also a third solution, which would entail building the first option – the two-foot-tall stage – and then utilizing risers whenever there was a professional band or show.

“If it were up to me, I’d rather do it and do it right; I’d rather see the second quite honestly,” Mayor Robbie Skinner said, referencing the four-foot-tall, 29-foot-deep and 38-foot-long stage.

Arnold told the board they would not be able to bid out and construct the second option before the upcoming Festival Friday season — and they definitely can’t begin working on it while Jawbone Park will be so busy.

Season 12 of Festival Fridays is set to kick off weekly on Fridays starting June 7, 2024, through Friday, Aug. 23, except June 14.

“I would recommend that it’s budgeted for next year if you’re going to go that route, and then that way that’ll allow the street department to start building the stage,” Arnold said. “That gives us plenty of time to explore options. You may want to make some design changes like rounding the corners, and I think there’s a lot of design elements that you could throw in if we have more time.”

Hawkins said the Street Department could fulfill Create Buckhannon’s initial request to refurbish the current stage and repaint it for the 2024 season. Sanders said he would also like to see the scale of the stage in person before they officially approve the dimensions.

“I would recommend really looking at what will go down and looking at a mockup of what that larger stage will look like,” Sanders said. “I would recommend using some temporary tape, or stakes or something just to let the board members see it.”

Skinner said they were no longer under a strict timeline so they could wait to approve an official design later.

“Since we’re not against any sort of major timeframe to get it done by [the West Virginia Strawberry] festival and by Festival Fridays this year, I’d say we just continue to evaluate the best way to do it and do it right,” Skinner said.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!