The Times West Virginian

January 30, 2014

Palatine Park plans finalized

‘It’s going to be better than we ever thought’

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The final construction plan for Palatine Park has been set.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Authority, presented commissioners with the complete and final design of the new Palatine Park development. The design includes everything from where the flagpoles will be placed to the width and length of every sidewalk.

“We’ve reached a milestone on Palatine Park,” Reese told the commission. “When you look at the design, it’s going to be better than we ever thought.”

One of the extreme changes to the park includes a parking lot that sits behind the amphitheater. Reese said it could add 50-75 spaces for parking.

“Since we took those houses out behind there, people will notice the space we have for parking,” Reese said.

Commissioner Butch Tennant said the increase in parking will help when events are held at the park. He said it will also assist the Division of Natural Resources, which will be putting boat ramps along the river.

“That’s one thing the park was lacking — parking,” Tennant said.

Reese said the design also includes a banked area in front of the amphitheater to be used as seating for concerts and events.

Another part of the design includes handicap accessability and emergency vehicle accessability. Reese said the sidewalks were redesigned to fit the needs of those who are handicapped and to hold emergency vehicles if necessary.

Reese said the next step is for Thrasher, a civil engineering, design and management firm that created the design, to get permits from the City of Fairmont. Once the permits are taken care of and the weather breaks, he said construction will begin.

“We want to start moving some dirt soon,” Reese said.

The deadline to finish the improvements is set for May 15. Commissioner Randy Elliott said the construction has been slowed due to the weather.

“The plans are going nicely. The meetings are going nicely. (The weather is) the only thing that’s holding us up,” he said. “We got a lot more done than what I thought we would get done before the weather hit.”

Tennant said he’s excited that the milestone has been reached on the project. He said he’s glad about how fast it has been developing.

“It excites me to see it on paper,” he said.

Tennant said with the complete design, the development of Palatine Park is becoming more real.

“We’re not kidding — we’re going to do this,” he said.

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