Create Buckhannon discusses parking for upcoming festivals

Katie Loudin holds a discussed parking sign.

BUCKHANNON — Create Buckhannon met at the Opera House on Thursday, May 5 at noon with CJ Rylands leading the in-person meeting, which was also available by Zoom.

Melody Stemple addressed the issue of the upkeep and maintenance for Jawbone Park as far as weed eating and mowing. She also proudly expressed that the Strawberry Festival for 2022 has gained a few more sponsors, including Corhart and Dairy Queen.

CJ Rylands and Mayor Robbie Skinner discussed quite a few topics throughout the meeting. The first being the parking conditions during Festival Fridays and the Strawberry Festival. Too many Upshur County residents park in grassy areas, preventing the room for vendors to setup their booths and/or food stations. Rylands suggested placing orange cones in prohibited areas; however, Mayor Skinner presented “No Parking” signs to the organization and suggested modifying some of them before the festivals. The signs will most likely read “No parking after 1:00 p.m. on Fridays.”

Also, a major issue is smoking. Despite signs posted all over Jawbone Park area prohibiting the use of tobacco, there seems to be cigarette butts all around the surrounding areas. “We need to reiterate and find a way to enforce this,” said Rylands. Parking as a whole was discussed and thus far, there seems to be plenty of parking space during festival times, especially due to the fact that there are currently only 15 food vendors signed up for the Strawberry Festival this year.

New corn hole boards will also be something to look forward to during festivals. It was also noted that any food vendors still looking to sign up must have their health permit in-hand when doing so.

Festival Fridays may be getting a new schedule and the public will be notified when decisions are finalized. A chicken dinner, including a bottle of water and a chocolate chip cookie will also be available for purchase for $15. Amanda Hayes briefly discussed she will now be accepting debit cards for purchases.

The last topic discussed was about the improvements of access points from the Alexander Road to the River Road on the Hall Road. A boat ramp past Weyerhaeuser has approximately five to six feet of sand and leaves covering it. The only entrance for the river is at the Beans Mill entrance or the Sago Road entrance. Mayor Skinner said the upper part of the river is a wonderful place to kayak if you have a lot of water. In order to know if there is enough water level for safe kayaking, the Department of Highways (DOH) or Division of Natural Resources (DNR) will have to go out and mark the water level.

“There are easily class 3 and 4 rapids in that river especially in the Imperial area,” said Mayor Skinner. “The river calms down in the Hampton area and picks back up to higher classes of rapids in the Carrolton area to Tygart.”

Managing and improving the Upshur County access points are something Create Buckhannon is very interested in.

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