BUCKHANNON – J.F. Allen Company has donated 70 acres of land to the Upshur County Commission to create a recreational complex.
Upshur County Commission president Kristie Tenney announced the endowment during the Oct. 27 commission meeting.
“We are very humbled and yet honored to share with you today that the J.F. Allen Company has so graciously donated property to the Upshur County commission where we will be utilizing this incredible opportunity to construct a recreational complex for all ages,” Tenney said. “On behalf of the Upshur County Commission, I would just like to take a moment to share our sincere thanks to John C. Allen, the J.F. Allen Company, the Board of Directors and Greg Hodjis for the overwhelmingly generous donation they have bestowed to Upshur County.”
The tract will need to be evaluated before an overall plan for the property can be determined.
“To say we are overwhelmed by this generous donation is an understatement. The next step in this process will be for the commission to have the property analyzed to create a master plan,” Tenney said. “At that time, we would like to invite you to join us in a groundbreaking ceremony once the plans are complete. Again, thank you to the J.F. Allen Company we are so grateful, and your generosity will make a huge difference for Upshur County.”
Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte said this is something he has wanted to see in the county for 20 years.
“I’ve sat on different boards and tried to recruit companies or individuals to come back to our county and usually the top two things they bring up are either schools or what they and their families have to do, so I think this is something we have the ability to provide, thanks to their generous donation,” Nolte said.
Upshur County Commissioner Doug Bush said this project opens up possibilities for everyone in the county.
“I think it’s a great opportunity; I think what’s in front of us now is a great opportunity, not only for us but for the whole community in general,” Bush said. “I’m excited. I know it’s going to take a lot of work, this is just one step in many that have to be taken, but what a great opportunity for all of us.”
This project is not in conjunction with the organization called the Upshur County Recreational Complex, the commissioners said.
“This is just through the Upshur County Commission, we’ve talked to Mitch[Shaw, president of the Upshur County Recreational Complex] and explained to him what transpired because I know they have a lot of the same visions,” Nolte said. “We’ll get with them once we figure out a master plan.”
The commission has a vision for the property, including several athletic fields and potentially an indoor facility.
“We need to see how much useable land we have and what we’re capable of doing there, but ultimately it would be a lot of fields for the different organizations that we currently have in Upshur County — football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, we’d like to incorporate it all,” Nolte said. “We would like to build an indoor facility so everyone can have somewhere to go year-round.”
Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner also attended the meeting and said the city hopes to support the commission during their venture.
“We were at a focus group back in August, when the [Upshur County] Development Authority and everybody in the room was talking about, ‘what do we need as a community?’ and it all goes back to great schools and a recreation complex, so the city is eager to be a partner; we want to be a partner so when it comes to planning financial contributions, the city is ready to help this become a reality for our community,” Skinner said.
He thanked J.F. Allen for their contribution to the Buckhannon-Upshur community.
“J.F. Allen has been a long-time great corporate partner: they’ve sponsored Strawberry Festivals, Festival Fridays, every youth sports team in the community, so we appreciate them for this generous donation,” Skinner said. “We’re all a team so if there is anything the city can do, we’re happy to be a partner and we want to work with you hand in hand and with Mitch Shaw, and other community members to make this a reality.”