City unveils revamped North Buckhannon Riverfront Park


BUCKHANNON — The rededication of the North Buckhannon Riverfront Park had been four years in the making, but on a sopping wet Saturday afternoon, the wait was finally over.

No amount of rain could delay the City of Buckhannon’s plans to host special ceremony at the park Saturday. The facility recently underwent a complete facelift with ADA-accessible enhancements added to the playground, sidewalks and more.

“Today marks the culmination of more than four years of grant application, grant award, state and federal administrative agency negotiation and some hassle and finally project completion,” McCauley said at Saturday’s rededication, “but, ‘good things come to those who wait!’”

And to longtime Buckhannon resident and former mayor and city recorder Nancy Shobe, the finished product was well worth that wait.

Growing up in north Buckhannon, Shobe said she would have loved to play on the newly installed equipment when she was a little girl, but the park lacked the amenities at the time.

“I was born and raised in north Buckhannon, and it would have been so nice to have had a place like that when we were growing up,” Shobe said Monday. “It is a nice addition to the neighborhood. We felt like we were always left out in that neighborhood. You can’t say that now with the sidewalks and the playground and everything that they’re doing over there. North Buckhannon is finally part of the city.”

McCauley’s comments on Saturday also drove home the importance of place in uniting people.

“I believe that places like this are hugely important to neighborhood identity and offer a focal point for pride and coming together,” the mayor said. “Parks and playgrounds are a lot like our elementary schools — providing places of focus, community and commonality.

“And the more we do to create places for our children — our greatest assets —to gather and play and experience fun, joy, happiness, community, physical fitness, the better,” McCauley continued. “Furthermore, these improvements are all ADA compliant … so inclusiveness is a big part of what we are always trying to realize throughout our community. Everyone can have fun in our parks! We have no barriers.”

McCauley thanked public works director Jerry Arnold, street superintendent Brad Hawkins and city engineer Jay Hollen for their help in executing the project.

Specific improvements were funded by a $67,017 grant through the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was administered through the West Virginia Development Office, according to city information coordinator and grants writer Callie Cronin Sams. The grant enabled the city to purchase ADA-accessible and non-ADA-accessible playground equipment, including a juvenile wheelchair swing, sandbox, a water play table and new swings. The grant also paid for improvements to the sidewalks that transformed standard entrances to the parking lot, bathrooms and shelters into ADA-accessible entrances.

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