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Copyright 2017 Charleston Newspapers

Charleston Gazette-Mail


HURRICANE — Construction on Valley Park's multi-million-dollar improvements has officially begun.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the park to celebrate the beginning of the expansion. Local and state officials, as well as community members, attended the event.

The project will allow construction of a new entrance sign and lane for the park, new ADA-accessible playgrounds, a new community center, baseball and soccer fields and multiple other park improvements. It also includes improvements to the park's wave pool, including cabanas and a sand bar.

It is hoped that the park will help boost tourism in Putnam county. Local leaders are aiming to bring tournaments to the county for sports like baseball, soccer and lacrosse.

The convention center is also something county commission president Steve Andes said local officials are exited about. The Commons, Valley Park's current center, is about 5,000 square feet. The new center will be 35,000 square feet, and will be able to hold large events like proms, dinners and meetings.

Bids for the community center are going out this week, Andes said.

The county is also hoping a hotel will be built nearby to house people who come to the park for events like regional sports tournaments.

The multi-phase $15 million expansion will primarily be financed through TIF funds. About $3 million will be covered by the county. Because it is TIF-funded, taxes will not be increased to pay for the project.

"It's economic development. Once this gets going, I think we'll be pulling in people from all around the state and from surrounding states, Steve Andes said.

The project will close much of the park this summer, including the wave pool.

The decision to close was difficult, but was made in order to keep the public safe, Andes said.

Construction is expected to start within the next month.

"We're moving forward, and there's no turning back, Andes said.

Jarrod Dean, executive director of the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission, said he's amazed by the start of the project. While the project has been in the works for years, Dean was hired five months ago by the county.

"Everybody is just all about teamwork, from the engineers and architects all the way down to the people moving the dirt. It's all been one big collaboration, Dean said.

Dean said the project is a plus for Putnam families, since it will lead to more space for kids to play.

Tara Bailey, a mother of two young boys, said she visits the park multiple times a week with her family. A Barboursville native, she grew up visiting the wave pool during the summer.

She said the park, which she says is typically fairly crowded, provides her kids opportunities to play and meet new people. She said it's exciting to see it grow, even if she won't be able to take them there over the summer.

"The park is nice, and it's great to be able to bring them here, Bailey said

Construction is expected to be complete by July 2018.

Reach Ali Schmitz at, 304-348-4843 or follow @SchmitzMedia on Twitter.

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April 12, 2017


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