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Funds sought for W.Va. park

April 01, 2001

Funds sought for W.Va. park



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Members of an organization which works to improve life in the west end of town are calling attention to a county-owned park in the middle of the community which they say is an "eyesore."

There has been some efforts to improve Evitt's Run Park through the years, but recently the park located behind the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co. has started to deteriorate again, according to members of the Charles Town Shalom Community.

Pavement on the park's tennis courts is in poor condition, making them practically impossible to use, there are sunken areas in the ground in the park which can be a hazard to children and there is debris in a creek that runs through the park, said Jim Keel, member of the Charles Town Shalom Community.

"It's your mess down there," Keel told the Jefferson County Commissioners last Thursday.

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There have been some attempts to have summer activities at the West Washington Street park, but the programs have to be limited because there are no restroom facilities or electric service in the park, Keel said.

The park is within two blocks of the main downtown business area, and serves an area where there are many children and minorities.

"It's an eyesore, right here in the middle of the community," said George Rutherford, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Members of the Charles Town Shalom Community went before the commissioners because of the commissioners' decision not to include $5,000 their recently completed 2001-2002 budget for Evitt's Run Park.

Members of Keel's group also questioned why the commissioners gave $5,000 to Jefferson Memorial park, which is private park in Charles Town, and gave none to Evitt's Run Park.

The commissioners could not allocate any money for Evitt's Run Park because they ran out of money for park programs, said Commissioner Dean Hockensmith. When the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission presented its budget request to the commissioners, there were three priorities in the plan, said Hockensmith, adding that Evitt's Run Park was No. 3.

The commissioners only had enough money for the first two projects, said Hockensmith.

Hopefully, Evitt's Run Park will be the No. 1 priority next year, Hockensmith said.

The $5,000 request for the park is part of a three-year project to make improvements to the park. The total cost of the improvements is $32,000.

Regarding Jefferson County Memorial Park, which is located across town along Forrest Avenue, the commissioners believed it was important to give the park $5,000 because it runs the only public pool in the county, Hockensmith said.

Commissioner Jane Tabb said the commissioners might have thought differently about the prioritization of the county's park projects had members of the Charles Town Shalom Community appeared before the commissioners while the budget was being formulated.

"I hope in the future we can do something about the situation," Tabb said.

In the meantime, Commissioner James K. Ruland suggested a quicker way to get funding for Evitt's Run Park this year is to make a request for state funds through local lawmakers.

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