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Create Buckhannon member Amanda Hayes discusses possible upgrades to the stage at Jawbone Park during a recent Buckhannon Consolidated Public Works Board meeting. (Monica Zalaznik / My Buckhannon)

Coming soon to Jawbone Park: City plans to swap old wooden stage for new concrete platform

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Consolidated Public Works Board agreed to upgrade the Jawbone Park stage from wood to concrete.

A representative from Create Buckhannon, Amanda Hayes, attended the Jan. 23 CPWB meeting to ask permission to paint the stage in preparation for their upcoming Festival Fridays season.

“We’re preparing for Festival Fridays to start in June, and we started talking about the stage needing some repairs — it has a lot of wear and tear, and it’s been up since our second season,” Hayes said. “It gets a lot of use, not just our event, but other things throughout the year, and some of our volunteers have talked about getting what they call an “angle iron” to put on around the edge. We wanted to get permission to do that. We do paint it every couple of years, and it’s also in need of painting, so we want to do that before our season kicks off as well.”

Board member Pam Bucklew asked if it was time to establish a concrete stage, rather than the current wooden platform.

“I’m inclined to agree,” mayor Robbie Skinner said. “We’ve established Jawbone Park as an event space for our downtown. It continues to get more and more use, and I think that stage has served its purpose for the last 12 years. I think we should memorialize it and put in a permanent, nice, concrete stage that isn’t going to go anywhere or take as much damage through flooding.”

Bucklew asked if they could make the stage bigger during construction and smooth the edges so there are no more sharp corners.

“I think right now, it’s lined up with the edges of the brick building there,” Skinner said. “But I do know that there is some additional space to each side. We just want to make sure we give everything enough room, so we’ll need to do some measuring.”

Skinner said they would have to get moving on the project if they want it ready for the summer season.

“The best thing to do is to get a quote from our street department to see how much a concrete stage would cost and also what the timeframe on that would be, because, as Amanda pointed out, Festival Fridays will begin at the very end of May, and we have the Strawberry Festival in May, so I think our goal is to have it done by May 1.”

Street department director Brad Hawkins said laying the concrete and getting the work done would take around four days, barring any harsh weather or other obstacles.

“Let’s get a measurement done, let’s get a square footage measurement and a height measurement of what we would like to see from the street department, and let’s see how much it costs,” Skinner said. “We can pull the trigger on it at that point. If we were to bring this back to the February meeting and we were to be supportive of it, we would have plenty of time to get it done.”

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