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Kanawha building commission approves bonds for Shawnee Park project

Golfers (from left) Albert Joseph, Bill Smailes, Jim Beheler and Richard Shell discuss the plan for the Shawnee Park Sports Complex during an open house earlier this year. The Kanawha County Building Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a bond ordinance that would finance development of the park.

The Kanawha County Building Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a bond ordinance that will allow the redevelopment of Shawnee Park into a multi-sport complex.

The action will allow the county to issue lease revenue bonds not to exceed $10 million for the cost of construction, renovations and improvements at the park, according to a news release from the Kanawha County Commission.

In the release, Commission President Kent Carper said the complex has “tremendous” community support and called the building commission’s action a significant step toward its construction.

“The project represents a major investment in our local children and community, as well as our local and regional economy,” Carper said.

Officials have said building the complex is contingent on the results and analysis of additional environmental tests at the property. Initial tests revealed there are chemicals in the groundwater and soil gas at the park, the commission announced at its July 6 meeting.

At its Aug. 3 meeting, the commission chose Huntington Bank for the bonds, which will help finance the estimated $15.2 million project. The rest will be paid for in grants and donations, officials have said.