Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner describes plans for improvements to the City Park on Park Street at the Consolidated Public Works Board's July 27 meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Pickleball, anyone? Board votes to recommend city council allocate $100K for upgrades to City Park

BUCKHANNON – The city’s Consolidated Public Works Board agreed to recommend that Buckhannon City Council allocate $100,000 to its Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to fund planned improvement projects at the City Park.

The CPWB voted to recommend council approve the allocation at their July 27 meeting after Mayor Robbie Skinner outlined the board’s plan for the City Park located on Park Street

“The City Park is in the most need of improvement; our group has toured all of the parks, and the City Park is where we would like to begin,” Skinner said. “Our plans include creating a full, regulation-size basketball court because the current court is not regulation size – that’s number one. We would like to create two pickleball courts in the City Park, which would be on the right-hand side of the road that goes into the park, and we do have the room for that.”

Other projects included paving the road that leads to the pavilions and reconstructing the old Rotary pavilion, which has fallen into disrepair.

“We believe we can tackle the Buckhannon City Park for $100,000,” Skinner said. “This is our first funding request that we’re making, and I want us to keep in mind that when we took on this endeavor, we did so with the thought process that we needed to do some significant work in our parks to lift them to the same quality as the rest of our community.”

Board member Jack Reger asked if the drainage at the parks would be evaluated, saying he had seen some problems firsthand.

“There is a creek line that is on the right-hand side of the park, and we have discussed creating a walking trail there and that would connect up into the trail system in the woods and include a possible retaining wall through there to help with the water situation that gets in the lower pavilion,” Skinner said.

Board member Pam Bucklew asked if the pickleball courts could also be used as tennis courts, but Skinner said the markings and dimensions are different.

“One of the goals with the property swap from the college was to gain access to the old tennis courts at the college, and perhaps we can just fix those up and make those community open tennis courts,” Skinner said.

The majority of the $100,000 is estimated to go toward the basketball and pickleball courts.

“We have to level the ground, and it’s going to take a significant amount of preparation work to get that started,” Skinner said. “We were looking at potential bleachers – small bleachers, no more than like five rows for the basketball court – because if we can create a regulation-size basketball court there and a regulation-size basketball court over at North Buckhannon Park, we can create a lot of opportunities for those spaces.”

Skinner said surrounding communities do not possess outdoor regulation-size courts, which could introduce new opportunities for the city parks.

“There are no regulation basketball courts that are outdoor in Elkins or Weston — I checked – and we have a pretty robust men’s league in the summer, so we have an opportunity to blow that up and do it even bigger with regulation-size courts, so that’s where the bulk of that’s going to go.”

The board voted unanimously to recommend the allocation of funds, and now it must be approved by Buckhannon City Council, which next meets Thursday, Aug. 3.

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