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Recreation officials hope to move into Inwood recreation center by mid-June

February 19, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Recreation officials hope to move into the W. Randy Smith Recreation Center on Musselman High School’s campus in Inwood, W.Va., by mid-June.

Steve Catlett, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board, told board members Tuesday that the gym portion of the facility is now enclosed.

Contractors, however, are still waiting for structural steel for the support area, a one-story section of the 18,200-square-foot facility that is to include the lobby, bathrooms and concessions.

Catlett said a day camp is planned at the facility in June and he hopes the building will be ready by then.

The steel still needed for the project is expected to arrive by the end of the month, Catlett said.

Martinsburg-based W. Harley Miller Contractors Inc. was awarded the project in April 2012 after submitting a $2.1 million bid to build the recreation center, but Catlett said the contractor can’t be blamed for the project’s delayed completion.

Catlett said in April that he had hoped to occupy the building this winter. After the meeting, Catlett suggested the time it has taken to have the steel delivered might be attributed to the building’s design. 

“It’s a different design than a standard box building,” Catlett said.

Two contributions totaling $2.1 million by Smith, a Powerball jackpot winner and former Berkeley County sheriff, allowed the project to move forward last spring. And Catlett reported Tuesday that the Parks & Recreation Board deposited $30,000 of the remaining $59,000 needed for the project through fundraising efforts.
 
Catlett said he expected additional financial commitments would come through to make up the difference.

“It looks like this thing is going to shake out fairly well,” Catlett said.

The Parks & Recreation Board has sold permanent advertising signs for the new facility to raise money and Catlett said there will be additional equipment and furnishing needs once they get into the building.

Other business

In other business Tuesday, Catlett told board members that he expects to announce a significant private donation next month that will fund construction of the county’s first dog park.

The fenced area planned for dogs in the 4.3-acre Ambrose Park along Mall Drive in Martinsburg is separate from a major renovation and expansion of recreation facilities that is under way there. 

“This thing is going to be really snazzy and nice,” Catlett said.

Separate from the dog park project, the planned construction of a large new playground at Ambrose Park, along with a new pavilion and bathroom renovations and related improvements this year, are being funded with a $14,500 state Community Partnership Grant and about $160,000 in federal money channeled through the city’s Community Development Block Grant program.

Catlett told board members Tuesday that the new pavilion “package” had been ordered to replace the old structure, which was recently removed. The existing bathroom structure, though stable, will be gutted and made more accessible and user-friendly, Catlett said after the meeting.

The planting of a dozen to 15 trees at the park also is being eyed through grant funding, which was separately awarded to the city as part of efforts to increase the community’s urban tree canopy, according to Catlett. The city council voted in April 2012 to provide $12,000 worth of in-kind services to net the Chesapeake Bay Community Grant.

A “kids garden” also has been pitched for Ambrose Park, and Catlett said he is interested to see what is proposed.

“I think it sounds like a neat idea,” Catlett said after Tuesday’s meeting.

All of the improvements, which are expected to be done this year, are “going to really take that park to another level,” Catlett said.

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