Adams Street Park in Montgomery is earmarked to receive $100,000 from more than $389,000 for three state projects provided by the National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The $100,000 in funding are designed to develop Adams Street Park, while the remainder of the LWCF outlay will go toward attracting visitors to the Oglebay Zoo in Wheeling and helping maintain Washington Park in Spencer.
Adams Street Park is “shovel ready,” Montgomery Mayor Greg Ingram said following the announcement of the funding. “The engineering studies and work are done and the design work is done.”
Ingram said the park project was launched approximately five years ago by City Recorder David White.
“He cleared the property by hand,” the mayor said. “It had a half-burned house on it. Mount Olive prisoners and volunteers helped him clear the land.
“He got a Small City Block Grant and did some float trips to raise money to put piling in the river to build piers,” Ingram added.
“It was going to take some big money. We applied with Land and Water Conservation Fund. It’s a 50-50 match that City Council has put back $100,000 to match. It’ll be a $200,000 project when it’s done,” Ingram said.
Ingram said city officials started working with the West Virginia Development Office and the National Park Service Land Water Conservation group several months ago, with progress delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It took about six or eight months to get this grant pushed through,” he said. “With COVID-19, there were a lot of roadblocks. Some environmental assessments had to be done and extra meetings had to take place and then we ran into COVID. Native Americans needed to approve this, and their offices were closed due to COVID. Finally, we got the clearance through the State Historic Preservation Office.
“The grant has been awarded, and we’re tickled to death,” Ingram said. “The park will be ADA accessible, located right between Montgomery General Hospital and the nursing home. That was by design. We wanted families to be able to go in and get they family members and let their relatives go out on the pier, enjoy the day, enjoy the evening, maybe fish a little bit. That’s going to happen.”
When the $100,000 becomes available to the city, Ingram forecast that the park will open in less than a year.
“It’ll probably take nine months,” he explained, “because we still have to bid the contracts and that type of stuff.”
West Virginia’s U.S. senators also weighed in on the announcement of the funding last week.
“West Virginia is home to wonderful public lands and recreational areas that provide West Virginians and visitors many opportunities to enjoy the Mountain State. To date, 54 of our 55 counties have benefited from the LWCF and with the passage of my Great American Outdoors Act, which secured full permanent funding for the LWCF, West Virginia will receive more funding to help improve our public spaces. I look forward to seeing the completion of these projects and will continue to advocate in Washington for our public lands,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in a release from his office.
“The LWCF and NPS have been fantastic partners in West Virginia and continue to improve our public lands and increase recreational access for our residents,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said in the release. “Just yesterday, I visited the Oglebay Zoo, which has had its best summer attendance in five years.
“It is important that we work in accordance with federal agencies to provide the outdoor resources and opportunities West Virginians are looking for, especially as we continue social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Capito added.
The Oglebay Zoo will receive $200,000 for renovations. Washington Park will receive $89,825.