The Times West Virginian

Local News

February 16, 2014

Coal severance, lottery funds, grants used to fund Palatine project

FAIRMONT — As planning for the development of the riverfront at Palatine Park continues, a lot has been said about what is going to be developed and how the park will look.

One crucial aspect is funding, and Marion County Commission President Butch Tennant said the money that is being used to pay for the development is not taxpayers’ money.

He said the budget for the project, which has a deadline of May 15 for a completion date, was set at $1 million.

“We would like to keep it within the budget, but it looks like we might go over,” Tennant said. “But all three commissioners feel very strong about developing Palatine Park, and we’ve made it a big project for us.”

As for the sources that are funding the development of the park, the biggest percentage of the project is being paid by coal severance tax money. Tennant said Marion County is lucky to have resources in the county that qualify for coal severance.

“We get a check every quarter for the coal severance tax,” he said.

Tennant said tax money from coal severance usually goes in the general fund for the county.

Another source of funding comes from the county’s “sin” tax, which Tennant said is money from the lottery that can be used for several things.

“There are really no restrictions with that money,” he added.

Grants are also being used to fund the development. Tennant said the county will get grant money from the state of West Virginia, and because the park is used often for events and festivals, money from the county’s hotel/ motel tax fund can be used as well.

“(The park) is considered to be a tourism attraction because of the festivals and things that are held there that attract people from outside the county,” he said.

Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Authority, said half the hotel/motel tax money the county gets goes to the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Marion County.

“With that money there are a few strings attached, but we’re doing a lot of things there that are related to tourism that bring people into Marion County,” Reese said.

One thing Marion County doesn’t have to worry about is debt. Tennant said the county does a good job of keeping its budget from running a deficit.

“We’re in the black when it comes to the county’s money,” he said.

During a county commission meeting on Jan. 29, commissioners approved the final plans for the park that were presented by Thrasher Group, which won the engineering-architect contract in November 2013.

Reese told commissioners when they “look at the design, it’s going to be better than (they) ever thought.” The designs include a splash park, restrooms, a banked area in front of the amphitheater, a natural playground, and handicap and emergency vehicle accessibility.

Tennant said some of the biggest purchases for the park will be the restrooms, splash park and development in front of the amphitheater.

“We’re going to revamp the whole area in front of the stage,” he said. “That will be a big cost.”

Another big cost is grass. Reese said any place where people are going to walk or be, the county decided to put sod grass there.

“We don’t expect to put grass seed down and have it ready by May,” he said. “We made an extra investment in putting sod down.”

Tennant said the decision to use sod grass was because of several incidents at the park where, because of the weather, it became muddy in the area. He said using sod might be costly, but it’ll be worth it.

“We want it done, and we want it done right,” Tennant said.

With more than 40 inches of snow dropping so far this winter, being able to physically develop the riverfront has been a struggle.

Reese said the first major transformation of the park will be the restrooms. He said the concrete buildings are being built off site and will be brought to the park and put in place once it’s finished. But with the weather the way it’s been, Reese said he’s concerned with bringing the restrooms in by truck or crane on such saturated ground.

“It will be transported by a truck,” he said. “Then you have to pick it up with a huge crane and place it on the pad and hook everything up. When you have to go from the amphitheater to the back of the park with no road, you’re going to tear up the land.”

Reese said the next step to the project is for Thrasher to get permits from the City of Fairmont, which could happen sooner than later. 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.

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

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Statues 1 - MP.jpg Mascot carvings presented to FSU, PC&TC

    Pierpont Community & Technical College and Fairmont State University received special gifts Monday.
    Jason Stoner, an artist from Pennsylvania who specializes in wood carving, among other media, recently visited Fairmont as part of the Three Rivers Festival.
    “This gentleman has been carving professionally for nine years … He travels all around the area,” said Bill Pickrell, who helped make the project a reality.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fairmont Council OKs FCDP application for state grant

    Tuesday, Fairmont City Council authorized the Fairmont Community Development Partnership’s (FCDP) application to the state’s Community Participation Grant program.
    The West Virginia Development Office Community Development Division’s Community Participation grant would provide $25,000 for the FCDP to demolish and redevelop a Fairmont property into low-income affordable housing.

    July 23, 2014

  • Pleasant Valley Council awards park renovation

     The Pleasant Valley town council accepted the bid to renovate a town park.
    The park project was planned by the Thrasher Engineering Group. Thrasher presented seven companies that placed bids on the project along with the costs broken down for how much it would cost to pay for each item involved in the process.

    July 23, 2014

  • FFCU Ground Breaking main -JB .jpg FFCU breaks ground on $9M project

     Fairmont Federal Credit Union is growing and showing its continued commitment to the community.
    On Tuesday morning, the credit union held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Marion County Branch and Corporate Offices, a project that will total $9 million, including the price of the property.

    July 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • Keeping NASA IV&V in Marion County

    NASA is in the process of determining the future of the Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont.
    NASA’s Office of Inspector General recently conducted an audit, from March 2013 through June 2014, to find out if the IV&V Program, located in the I-79 Technology Park, is using its funding appropriately. The report was released July 16.

    July 23, 2014

  • County woman arrested on child neglect charges

    A Marion County woman has been arrested on charges of child neglect.
    According to a criminal complaint filed at Marion County Magistrate Court, on July 14 Fairmont City Police responded to a possible missing person call at Benoni Avenue.

    July 23, 2014

  • ROGER CURRY -CG.jpg Roger Curry appointed to Fairmont City Council

    After a special meeting and interviews with four applicants, Fairmont City Council appointed a new council member to represent the 7th District until the canvassing of the Nov. 4 election.
    Roger D. Curry, an attorney and barrister at law, was sworn in during the council meeting Tuesday evening.
    Curry said that the job is about team work.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pleasant Valley Council awards park renovation

    The Pleasant Valley town council accepted the bid to renovate a town park.

    July 22, 2014

  • Roger Curry appointed to Fairmont City Council

    After a special meeting and interviews with four applicants, the Fairmont City Council appointed a new council member to represent the 7th District until the canvassing of the Nov. 4 election this year.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairmont Council OKs FCDP application for state grant

    Tuesday, Fairmont City Council authorized the Fairmont Community Development Partnership’s (FCDP’s) application to the state’s Community Participation Grant program.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads