Copyright 2017 Charleston Newspapers
Since ground was broken in March, the $15 million major renovation project at Valley Park in Hurricane is on track to be complete by next May.
Putnam County Parks and Recreation Director Jarrod Dean, who is also acting as project manager on the renovations, said the completed, all-new Valley Park will be a destination facility for sports teams and other groups and will be an economic driver for Putnam County.
"We've been going pretty strong - a lot of activity, Dean said.
Dean said the Putnam County Commissiond started planning for the project a few years ago and came up with a master plan.
"The county commission has assembled a wonderful team of engineers and contractors for this project, Dean said.
The "horizontal improvements at Valley Park include three new baseball fields.
"One will be a Senior League field, and we will actually have a portable fence that will size that field down into another Little League field.
Additionally, there will be two other Little League-size fields.
"This is all synthetic turf - even the the infield is turf, he said. "It's going to be absolutely beautiful.
The baseball fields will be equipped with bleachers and dugouts.
"In the center of that triplex will be a really nice concession stand. This will make us real attractive for tournaments. I'm real excited about that.
Another focal point at the new Valley Park will be a full-size soccer field with a walking track around it.
"It's regulated for adult play, so it will have the adult play lines on it. And on that same field, we'll have the lines for two Little League soccer fields, Dean said. "We'll have a full-blown turf field there with bleachers.
During the renovations, Valley Park's existing multi-purpose field next to the large picnic shelter was regraded.
"Before, it held a lot of water, making it impossible for soccer teams to have practices out there. It drains perfectly now.
Sports and rec
Dean said there's been some interest in having lacrosse games played on the multipurpose field.
"We're going to be looking at what that infrastructure looks like to put in a lacrosse field down there, as well.
Tennis enthusiasts will also have something to look forward to when Valley Park reopens next spring.
"We're putting in three brand new tennis courts.
And although it's not part of the renovation project, Dean said he's exploring putting in a basketball court at Valley Park.
"My goal is to offer all types of sports and recreation, Dean said, adding that an 18-hole disc golf course will also be part of the park.
The new Valley Park will also have a new, 32,000-square-foot community building. The current Commons building will remain on the property.
The area between the new community building and the Commons building will be nicely landscaped.
"All of this out here will be really nice, architecturally designed landscaping. It's going to be beautiful.
Dean foresees that area as being a great backdrop for prom photos and other events.
"It will be a great place for kids to have their pictures done, he said.
There will also be a large green space with outdoor stage for concerts and movies.
"People can rent it for receptions - it will be a nice area for that.
Dean said another "showcase area at Valley Park will be an "all-inclusive playground. We will have multiple play structures that will offer a lot of recreation experiences for kids - even kids with special needs. It's an all-inclusive ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) playground.
Part of that playground will be a "Ninja Warrior obstacle course.
"It's all electronic and has lasers that will clock the speed and time of the kids going through that obstacle course. And that's all turf, as well.
There will also be a two-lane turf, 40-yard-dash facility that will also clock the time and speed of kids.
"The playground is the only one like this in West Virginia, Dean said.
The project also includes a new park maintenance facility. The current maintenance facility is in the barn at the front of the property.
With a new maintenance facility, that means the barn can be repurposed for something else.
"I'm going to turn that barn into a multipurpose facility, he said.
The barn will be renovated using some of the wood ceiling from the old community building that was torn down to make way for the renovations.
"We salvaged 90 percent of the wood ceiling, and we're going to line the inside of that barn with that wood and some other products. We're going to be very attractive for barn-style weddings down there or for parties and receptions.
The new community building will house the parks and recreation offices, a bathhouse for the Waves of Fun swimming pool, and the pool concession area, as well as a commercial kitchen.
The community building will also have a large meeting room that can be divided into three sections.
"It will have electronic walls that will close in and divide that room into three rooms, he said. "We can have multiple meetings and multiple conferences.
With tables and chairs, the meeting room can seat 450 people. Officials are also exploring putting in a stage in the community building.
"We are looking at putting a large stage in here, Dean said, as he pointed to an illustration of the building's interior.
"If we were to have a large gospel concert or country concert, I could fit 1,200 people in there with just chairs.
Dean is especially excited about the community building's fully equipped, commercial kitchen, which could be used by caterers and others.
The commercial kitchen would also be a resource for local producers of products such as jams and jellies.
"There's a lack of commercial kitchens for those folks to use, he said. "We want to rent this kitchen for our agriculture producers to come in here on a daily basis; they'll be able to cook their products here, jar it, can it - do everything here, and it will be a low, hourly rental rate. We'll generate some revenue from that, but we'll also be helping our local farmers and producers with their locally grown products.
The bathhouse for the nearby Wave Pool will be part of the community building, with easy access to and from the pool.
The community building will also house the concession stand for the Wave Pool.
"We will have a gourmet-style menu here. The food that we're going to be offering next year at the Wave Pool is gourmet burgers, French fries, chicken sandwiches, salads, cut fruit and veggies and some ham and turkey wraps.
Dean said the atmosphere will change at the Wave Pool, with a more "resort feeling to the facility.
"We want to create a real nice, family atmosphere.
When the Wave Pool reopens, visitors will find new, poolside cabanas that will be available for rent. They will be equipped with lounge chairs and tables. Cabanas were also built along the fence line, which will be less expensive to rent.
"We're also going to be doing umbrella rentals like you see at the beach.
Dean said there have been "mechanical upgrades to the Wave Pool and the slide pool.
"I'm going to test run those for a while this fall to make sure everything is working properly. We want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for Memorial Day weekend next year.
New concrete has been installed along the Wave Pool. The pool also has a new liner and gutter system.
"We also have an ADA lift chair that will lift folks with special needs into the pool.
Dean anticipates doing a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Valley Park next May.
"We will have the pool open Memorial Day weekend next year, he said.
Dean said the new Valley Park will be an "economic driver for the Putnam County area.
"With the baseball tournaments, soccer tournaments and the disc golf tournaments that we're going to be bringing in here, it's going to be an economic boon for local restaurants and local shops and local hotels, as well.
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter