The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 26, 2014

Newest park opens with Tomblin, Frisbees and kids: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — It wasn’t the traditional ribbon cutting Wednesday at Palatine Park.

Instead of lining up to cut a ribbon, Marion County and state officials including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin lined up on the stage of the amphitheater and aimed. The group threw out bright green Frisbees and rubber football to the crowd in celebration of the grand opening of Palatine Park and the new splash park.

“Having a park like this, its creates a good quality of life,” Tomblin said.

During the ceremony, kids were enjoying the newly built splash park. Tomblin said looking at those kids play in the park is what building a park is all about.

“It’s a place for our children to come and play because they’re our future,” he said.

The renovations of Palatine Park began on March 17 with Thrasher Engineering taking on the construction of the project. Crews worked seven days a week to meet deadlines and to have the park ready for the Three Rivers Festival, which was on May 22.

Marion County Commission President Butch Tennant said the cost of the renovations was around $1 million. He said the money used for the project came from the county’s coal severance tax fund along with sin tax and Hotel/Motel tax funds.

During the ceremony, Tennant said the park began as a vision and is now a reality.

“This is a proud moment for all of us,” he said. “It’s just what Marion County needs.”

Since the splash park has been open, which has been a few weeks now, the park is full of children and adults enjoying the free park.

The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission (MCPARC) will be providing the maintenance to the park including the splash park. Tony Michalski, director of MCPARC, said it will take a lot of attention but it’s worth it.

Michalski said the splash park usually has a staff member working on the park several times a day.

“It’s really good for recreation,” he said. “Anytime you can help out with recreation, especially free, it sets a precedence for the future.”

Michalski said the water used at the splash park is recirculated and treated.

“There’s a 2,000-gallon tank that recirculates and treats the water,” he said.

The splash park along with the other renovations is just the first phase of the riverfront development that is planned. Michalski said the main goal for MCPARC is to have all the trails in the county connect to one central location, Palatine Park.

Another phase of the development is on the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) side. The DNR plans to put in boat docks near Palatine Park.

“It gives us another river attraction here in Fairmont,” Michalski said.

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

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