Commission hears project proposals


BUCKHANNON — Banks Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Roby presented two proposals to the Upshur County Commission Thursday morning, regarding their incomplete repeater/tower project.  A repeater is located at high elevation, such as the one they currently have, that allows two mobile stations otherwise out of line-of-sight broadcast range of each other, to communicate.  Roby explained completion of this project will provide better radio communication for the fire department.  The Fire Chief asked Commissioners to assist with funding to finish the project, or to allow BVFD to turn in whatever is theirs to the county and let them finish it.  The firefighters present all agreed that the static through their radio is a major issue and annoyance that must be improved.  

Roby explained they just want better communication, and to eventually get away from the low band they’re currently utilizing.  The tower could be licensed to the County Commission, if desired, and could also be used by others in the southern part of the county.  Commissioners and Banks Volunteer Fire Department agreed to work on a contract in order to complete the project and improve radio communication.   

President of the Upshur County Recreation Complex, Mitchell Shaw, also requested funding and support from the County Commission for their upcoming endeavors.  The current goal of the organization is to get the community talking, get involved and raise awareness.  Their ultimate goal is to eventually find a 100-acre facility that will encompass all sports in one location for the community.

Shaw explained they’re willing to downsize to multiple locations with smaller pieces of land, if need be.  The group is currently seeking just one piece of land for now – a 10-acre spread to put new soccer fields on.  Shaw asserted that this would have low cost and once a piece of land is established, they will have the ability to apply for grants. 

The economic impact of being able to host different sporting events is unprecedented, according to Shaw.  He believes the ability to host events, such as soccer tournaments, would come at a low cost and also provide local restaurants and other businesses with more foot traffic.  “That is more people in the area supporting our small businesses,” Shaw stated.

The organization recently took over an adult basketball league known as the UCRC Men’s Basketball League, which currently has 105 players and is expected to grow.  They still need help to cover costs like referees, and they’re also seeking sponsorships if any businesses are interested.  The league will be competing June 29 through July 24 and the playoff will be the last week of July.  They are also hoping to host a Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning. 

Shaw further explained that they want this complex to be a community achieved dream, and they need the help of other people in order to execute it.  For updates or more information regarding the UCRC, follow them on Facebook at Upshur County Recreation Complex.

Commissioners also approved the contribution of $300 to support two Buckhannon-Upshur High School sophomores to serve as Ambassadors in a “Catch My Breath” program and training over the summer.  The program is hosted by the Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, through the American Lung Association.  Dr. Joseph Reed explained that the program consists of five one-hour per week online training programs to enable them to work with students in grades 6-12, to promote avoidance of tobacco and vaping.  Commissioner Kristie Tenney added, “This is a great opportunity for these students to be role models.” 

The County Commission went into executive session regarding the resignation of two employees.  They will meet again in regular session on June 25. 

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