The Times West Virginian

May 18, 2014

First Palatine Park construction deadline met

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The May 16 deadline for construction at Palatine Park has been met.

Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Office, said everything that was supposed to be done by the May 16 deadline is done.

Thrasher Engineering was awarded the bid in March to make the Marion County Commission’s vision of a new look for Palatine Park a reality.

“I’m very pleased with where we are now,” Reese said. “We met the first deadline.”

On Friday, crews were working to clear out unnecessary machinery and putting the final touches on the park. The biggest changes to the park include the splash park and the natural amphitheater.

The splash park has several fixtures that water runs though. Reese said Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission crews will be trained on how the park works and how to maintain it.

He said the fixtures are able to be interchanged and are made of fiberglass.

The splash park will be fenced in and will automatically turn off every hour.

“There’s a button that kids can run over and hit to turn it back on,” Reese said.

After the entire park is completed, the county commission will set a date for a grand opening.

Commission President Butch Tennant said his vision of Palatine Park gets more real every day. He said from the day he looked at the drawings on paper, he’s been very excited about the project.

“It’s like someone took a coloring book and colored everything in,” Tennant said.

Tennant said it’s more exciting now that the sod grass has been laid and the final touches are being put on the park.

“I’m happy with the whole thing,” he said.

From day one of the idea, Tennant hasn’t taken no for an answer in wanting to develop the park.

“I’ve stood my ground,” he said. “I knew it would be done.”

The deadline was set to ensure that the things that needed to get done for the Three Rivers Festival, which starts on May 22, would get done.

“We could have held the festival this weekend,” Tennant said. “But this week they’re going to do a lot of touching up.”

Since the plans were in place, Reese has worked hard to ensure the completion of the project. He said it’s nice to see a project come full circle.

“The county commission had a vision and started the construction, and they completed it,” he said. “I see so many plans that go out there, hit the drawing board, and they stop right there. This is one that continued on to completion.”

Reese said there hasn’t been a definite day for the entire park to be completed, but the Marion County Development Office and county commission are looking toward phase two of the riverfront-development project.

“I know that they’ve had meetings on the Fourth of July celebration,” he said.

With the entire vision of the park coming into sight, Reese is excited to bring his grandchildren to the park.

“I can’t wait to bring my grandson and granddaughter over and run them through the splash park,” he said. “That will be the highlight of my life.”

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.