BUCKHANNON — If you’ve been wondering what’s going on in Jawbone Park, you’re not alone. City of Buckhannon public works director Jerry Arnold said the city’s been fielding lots of questions about what employees are doing digging up areas of the downtown park.
What people have observed is actually the completion of the Jawbone Park improvement project, which began approximately five years ago, Arnold said.
“This is the final stage of the Jawbone Park project,” Arnold said. “It’s the actual completion of the Jawbone Park project.”
Street department crews have been busy running electric and water lines from the bathhouse to the back side of the sidewalk that circles around the benches, Arnold said. In addition, they’re installing seven light poles, and every light pole will have a power outlet into which vendors will be able to plug electrical appliances during special events like the W.Va. Strawberry Festival or Festival Fridays. Five of those light poles will line the perimeter of the park, while a sixth will be located at the corner of Florida and Madison streets and a seventh will be placed at the corner of Spring and Madison streets.
Other forthcoming improvements include two new flagpoles, which will border each side of the pavilion. Crews are also removing the old benches and replacing them with a couple of new benches, Arnold said.
“We’re removing one of the old sidewalks that went to the old pavilion,” Arnold said. “People should know that we’re mainly just cleaning stuff up too, but we’re going to get the grass re-established before the festival.”
The above-mentioned projects should be complete by the beginning of next week.
“By Monday or Tuesday, we’re going to have the conduits run and the ditches closed over, and by the middle of next week, we’re going to plant some grass seed so we can have some grass re-established before the festival,” Arnold said.
Then, after the 76th W.Va. Strawberry Festival — scheduled from May 13-21 this year — city crews will be back at it, pouring three new segments of sidewalk. One sidewalk will run from the Spring Street side of Jawbone Park in an arc over to the Florida Street side in one large half-circle. There will be two other diagonal sections of sidewalk — one extending from the main pavilion to the corner of Spring and Madison streets and one from the same starting point to the corner of Florida and Madison streets.
Finally, the PA system — or public address system — will be incorporated into the electrical system, and it will be housed in the maintenance room of the park bathhouse instead of in the basement of city hall.
“We’re running wiring for the PA system as we’re doing electrical work,” Arnold said. “All the groups that use the park will be able to have access to the PA system. It will be semi-permanent down here instead of being stored at city hall.”
Arnold says park users will be pleased when they see the final results.
“The park’s going to be much more user-friendly for Festival Fridays or like when they do Relay for Life down here,” Arnold said. “The lighting is going to add extra security to the park.”
Festival Fridays kicks off June 2.