BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission decided to hold off on permitting a local youth club to proceed — at least for now — with any renovations to the abandoned amphitheater behind the Buckhannon-Upshur High School football field.
Commissioners made the decision at their meeting Thursday, Oct. 21 after considering input from Upshur County Parks and Recreation Director Adam Brumley, who had reviewed a proposal that the B-UHS Youth Environmental Club submitted at a commission meeting submitted earlier this year.
The B-UHS Youth Environment Club approached the commission during its July 29 meeting to request the formation of a partnership to restore and repurpose the old amphitheater. Ty Landis, the president of the Youth Environment Club, said the club wanted to rebuild the area from the ground up during the youth club’s July 29 presentation of their proposal.
“This area would provide a space for students to use for sports, fundraising, other clubs and student body activities when they need an outdoor space in the community,” Landis told commissioners in July. “We believe the restoration of this area will provide fruitful activity and become a beneficial long-term investment for everybody.”
YEC’s proposal, which was included in the commission packet, notes that currently, the area is not only a hazard for people utilizing the walking trails in the Upshur County Recreational Park, but also, “the moss and uprooted concrete diminishes the aesthetic of the scenic walking trails which highlight Buckhannon’s natural beauty.”
The project was tabled after commissioners opted not to take action until an already-scheduled property assessment had been completed. Then, after the assessment, the county commission hired Adam Brumley as the new Upshur County Parks and Recreation director, and commissioners again postponed making a decision until Brumley had a chance to assess the Youth Environmental Club’s proposal.
During the Oct. 21 Upshur County Commission meeting, Brumley advised the commission to hold off on approving any construction or funding.
“I spoke to Ty about their proposal, and as it sits right now, I failed to see a clear vison,” Brumley said. “As it sits right now, I feel other groups are doing great work up there that have better projects to support at the moment. I do support the renovation of the amphitheater, but I would like to talk about a yearly agreement or maybe even a lease of the property to see different phases, because it’s a multi-phase project, but I don’t see a clear vision of the entire project as a whole.”
Brumley said this would give the club an opportunity to determine where their funding would eventually come from, besides funding provided by the commission. The proposal, viewable on pages 6-8 of this meeting packet, does briefly mention the high school and the City of Buckhannon as other potential project sponsors.
Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte said he would prefer to have Brumley more thoroughly evaluate the space and give a more detailed, comprehensive recommendation at a later date.
“I would prefer to hold off, just to give you time to analyze that area a little bit more and maybe come up with a better overall plan,” Nolte said. “You can write back [to the club] and let us know the best way to utilize the space, because it is hard to determine usability of the land, because it is sort of restricted — mainly because of the limited access.”
Nolte said the club is welcome to work with Brumley and incorporate their ideas into future plans.
In other Upshur County Commission news:
- The commission approved a request from Craig Presar, on behalf of the WVU Extension Service, seeking permission to use the large pavilion at the Upshur County Recreational Park on October 23, 2021 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This site served as one of the locations during the Upshur County 4-H Family Scavenger Hunt in which approximately 50 4-H families were expected to be involved. Presar also requested that the rental fee be waived.
- Commissioners voted to provide $1,000 to the Upshur Cooperative Parish House & Crosslines to purchase turkeys for Thanksgiving food baskets. Approximately 700 Upshur County families will be provided a food box.
- Finally, commissioners approved and signed the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office sign-on incentive agreement between the sheriff’s office, the commission, and Deputy/Prevention Resource Officer Timothy Menendez. Employment commenced August 29, 2021, and to receive and maintain the full incentive, Menendez must remain satisfactorily employed with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office for eight years.