BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon’s parks are about to undergo several changes and upgrades, including establishing regulation-size basketball courts and adding pickleball courts.
Mayor Robbie Skinner attended the Oct. 16 Buckhannon Planning Commission meeting to outline the Buckhannon Parks and Recreation Advisory’s plans. He updated the Planning Commission on a few new developments.
“We met at each individual park, assessed them, ranked them and based on the physical need of each park, we chose to begin with the City Park [on Park Street],” Skinner said. “The basketball court is non-regulation size, so we are going to make it regulation size and add a little bit of seating – nothing large, but a couple rows of seating.”
The Parks and Rec board also plans to install a pickleball court as one of the City Park’s new amenities. Pickleball is an indoor or outdoor game played on a level court with short-handled paddles and a plastic ball with holes volleyed over a low net by two or four players.
“We’re adding a pickleball court, and we’re adding a pavilion in the City Park down at the street level so that it’s handicap accessible,” Skinner said.
In addition, the Parks and Rec board decided to integrate the handicapped-accessible playground equipment with the standard play area.
“It’s been brought up multiple times by the Parks and Rec board members that it creates this image that a kid with special needs would be over here, and the rest of the kids would be over here, and we don’t want that,” Skinner said. “We also have a group of gracious volunteers led by Karl Boone, and we are going to supply materials, and they will supply the manpower to rework the Rotary pavilion.”
The board also plans to develop a trail system in the woods that will connect West Victoria Street and Park Street.
“Our goal is to have the park completed by the May 1 reopening day; we would like to have a ribbon cutting that would involve City Council, the Planning Commission, the Parks and Rec board in the April 15 to April 20 timeframe,” Skinner said. “We think that’ll be a really good piece for the community because they will see that this board – this group of people – did a really good job.”
After the City Park is completed, the Parks and Rec board plans to start working on the North Buckhannon Riverfront Park.
“One of the thoughts that has already been thrown out is, once again, that the basketball court over there is not regulation-size, so [that’s a goal] in an effort to try to try to make things work for our outdoor leagues in the summer,” Skinner said. “There are a lot of people who travel here from different communities to participate in our summer basketball leagues, so we want to make the courts regulation-size.”
The next big project will most likely be at the Elizabeth J. “Binky” Poundstone Riverwalk. Park area and the adjacent city Dog Park. (You can read more about all the parks and recreation areas within city limits here.)
“The college and the city entered into an agreement, so the Dog Park and the area with the cat colony is going to be under our control now,” Skinner said. “There is a very underutilized and broken basketball court over there next to the softball field, and we’re going to work to try to create a nice setting there.”
Skinner even hinted that the Riverwalk Park might be a suitable location for a skate park.
“There is talk that could be where our skate park goes, and that makes a lot of sense because it’s connected to the city, and the noise wouldn’t bother anyone,” he said.