Mapping and addressing and floodplain/building permit coordinator Terri Jo Bennett advises the Upshur County Commission relative to completing an H&H study on the Upshur County Wellness Complex.

Upshur County to commission hydrologic and hydraulic study on Upshur County Wellness Complex

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday approved the start of a Hydrologic and Hydraulic study on the land for the future Wellness Complex off the Brushy Fork Road.

The Wellness Complex will eventually be a hub for all of Upshur County’s youth sports.

Terri Jo Bennett, the Upshur County addressing and mapping, building permit and floodplain coordinator, updated the commission on the status of the land where the complex could stand in the future.

“I’ve been discussing different options with (city engineer) Jay Hollen and city personnel, and now we’ve taken a look at it, and there’s about six-and-a-half acres that is identified in the floodplain,” Bennett said. “It really restricts our usage and what we can do with it other than just have open fields like what we have been, but then there’s always that wet area down in that one lower corner.”

She said before any type of work or any fill options can be done, the county must do a hydrologic and hydraulic — or H&H — study to verify the velocity of the water, if it floods and how much water inundates the area. The study will also determine how much the county can fill the area and not cause more than a 1 percent rise in the determined base flood elevation.

Bennett said she and Hollen determined what may be needed if the county does decide to fill anything, and they came back with three price estimates.

“They came in at three different price ranges. Obviously, there’s one that was less than all of the others, so we’re looking at about $11,000, roughly, give or take a little bit, but that’s a good ballpark to go with, up to almost $30,000 with the price range difference,” Bennett said.

Commissioner Kristie Tenney asked how long an H&H study might take and Bennett said about two or three months.

“We can use the property as it is, just like we have been, so I can’t really say that you have to do an H&H study and spend a substantial amount of money, but if you were wanting to fill it or develop it in any way and that development is any man-made change … like putting lights up there … you would have to do an H&H study first.”

The commission discussed asking executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority if they would want to hire the same firm to complete a study on their property at the same time and share the cost, but the commission voted to move forward with the study to not delay the project.

“I personally would like to move forward with a project,” commissioner Kristie Tenney said. “I think it would be great for our community and our kids if we were able to be able to let them know. It’s been a long time coming, and they would like to know what is possible out there.”

Commissioner Sam Nolte put forth the motion to move forward with the estimate of $11,000 and get the H&H study started. The motion passed unanimously.

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