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Mayor Robbie Skinner discusses the future of the Buckhannon Parks & Recreation Advisory Board at Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Skinner: Council prepared to allocate money to new Parks & Rec Board to enhance recreational opportunities in the city

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon Planning Commission discussed the future of the newly formed Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Mayor Robbie Skinner said the new board is scheduled to meet soon, where they will establish leadership.

“We are still working on the agenda because it doesn’t meet until the week after Council, and the Parks and Rec board needs to establish leadership, there needs to be a chair and a vice chair of the Parks and Recreation Board to take the reins as to how this endeavor is going to be led,” Skinner told the city’s Planning Commission at its quarterly meeting Tuesday. “Then, of course, we have the two committees: you have a subcommittee of facility management and facility improvements, and you have the programming committee aspect of facilities to try to create year-round opportunities.”

The members of the main board will include Buckhannon City Councilwoman Pam Bucklew, Scott Lampinen, John Bohman, Alexis Ross-Butcher, Brian Webb, Rob Kimble and Debbie Shapiro. The facility management subcommittee board will include Robert Osburn, Chip Allen, Lisa Tenney, Keely Burnside and Will Squires. The programming subcommittee is comprised of members Beth Post, Rachel Ruffing, Jena Fealy, Levi Bender and Graham Godwin.

“That is who will be meeting here together, all at once, and then it’ll just be up to the leadership of the board, and I think each committee would need to have a leader, so those three [leaders] will decide how often everybody needs to meet and how often the committees and just the board need to meet,” Skinner said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be beneficial for everybody to meet all the time; I think those two committees need to go out and do their work and then report back to the board for their meetings.”

Skinner said it took some time and thought to assemble this board.

“Part of what took forever in getting this set up was finding people who understood this was going to be a lot of work,” the mayor said. “They all understand this is not going to be a talking board; these are working committees and [this board] has a goal to improve our facilities and to do it because time is money, and we’re not making improvements if we’re just talking.”

Planning Commission President Dr. Susan Aloi asked what the Parks and Rec’s budget structure would look like.

“What’s very important here at the beginning, is for the Facilities Management Committee to come back by the first of March with answers to ‘what do we have?’ and ‘what do we need?’ Skinner replied. “Our budget is due by March 31, which I feel gives us plenty of time to give them the month of February to go out, take a look, take some pictures, make some notes and then perhaps one month from late January, we come back with the regular Parks and Rec board meeting in late February, where the Facilities Management Committee would come back and report to the board.”

Skinner said they still need to determine what kind of budget the board will require.

“The board is going to need to make a suggestion to council and then at that point, we have some wiggle room to plug into the budget,” Skinner said. “I told everybody that was going to be a part of this board that the council was very supportive of and very serious about funding this the right way, so we can make the necessary improvements that we need for our parks.”

The city’s budgeting process for the July 1, 2023-June 30, 2023 fiscal year will likely begin in February. County and city budgets are typically due to the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office by the end of March.

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