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Berkeley County Council OKs donation of land for park

New recreation site, which is proposed to be named Goldie Gibbons Park, is along Bedington Road

January 10, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council voted Thursday to take ownership of a 1.7-acre parcel that is being donated for a park in the community of Bedington, W.Va.

The new recreation site, which is proposed to be named Goldie Gibbons Park, is along Bedington Road across from the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department’s main station. The land also borders the Winchester & Western Railroad.

“It’s too nice of a piece of property to say no to,” R. Stephen “Steve” Catlett, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board, told council members Thursday.

The property, which Catlett said has mature trees on it and is not in the flood plain, is being donated by Gibbons’ daughter, Virginia L. Gibbons, in memory of her mother, who died in 1981.

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Gibbons requested that a recreational area for dogs be developed on the site, which is set to become the county’s first traditional park in northern Berkeley County. The only other recreational site in the Falling Waters-Marlowe area is the Dupont Soccer Complex, which is exclusively used for the sport, Catlett said.

The parks and recreation board intends to try to follow through on Gibbons’ request to include a dog park at the site, Catlett said. A children’s playground and picnic areas also are envisioned for the site, which was where Gibbons grew up.

Catlett said the first dog park in Berkeley County is expected to be built in Martinsburg at Ambrose Park. 

The dog park in the city is being funded privately and comes as the parks and recreation board moves forward with plans to replace the Ambrose Park pavilion and make other major improvements to the recreational area along Mall Drive, Catlett said.

Park officials have netted $14,500 in state funding and about $160,000 in federal money channeled through the city’s Community Development Block Grant program for Ambrose Park improvements.

Catlett said the parks and recreation board’s main concern with adding additional acreage to the park system is being able to maintain it with a limited budget and without increasing staff.

Phil Martin, who helped facilitate Gibbons’ donation, thanked council members for agreeing to take title to the property, which he said would be “quite an asset” to the community.

Catlett told council members that he would like to be able to establish 100-plus acre parks in the northern and southern areas of the county and be positioned to develop 78 acres off Allensville Road near Hedgesville, W.Va., that recently was donated to the county for recreational use.

Officials celebrated that donation last spring, but the property has yet to be developed for recreational use.

The land was donated by LCS Services, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc. that operates the North Mountain Sanitary Landfill.

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