BUCKHANNON — The Wellness Complex located on Brushy Fork could be seeing some upgrades in the near future. Kevin Nicholson with the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association spoke with the county commission on Thursday, Nov. 8 about what’s already been completed at the complex as well as future plans.
According to Nicholson, the UCYSA has already made major progress since signing the lease with Upshur County Commission just over a year ago.
“The county graciously granted us a lease to the Wellness Complex property about 14 months ago,” Nicholson said. ”When we initially began developing the property, it was in bad shape.”
Nicholson told commission that when they first began developing the property it involved over 1,000 man hours by volunteer to cut and clear the brush that was waist high. After the initial clearing of the property, volunteers then spent an additional two full days laying out the fields, painting lines, and putting goals in place.
“In late September, just three weeks after we signed the lease, we were playing games on the property. For the first time in many years, the children in Upshur County were utilizing property that had not been available before,” Nicholson said.
He continued “my simple promise to the commission when we asked for the lease is that we would maintain, improve and use the resources we’ve been granted. We far exceeded our promise.”
After clearing and setting up the fields a sign was placed to formally recognize the property as the Upshur County Wellness Complex. According to Nicholson this was done with volunteer hours at UCYSA cost as a symbolic gesture of their commitment to Upshur County.
“Present day, we continue to clean and maintain the property,” he said. “We purchased a mower in the spring of 2018 and our volunteers mow the property on a weekly basis. Our players utilize these fields seven days a week during the season. We’re truly grateful the county has given us the opportunity to use this property.”
After discussing the progress already made to the property, Nicholson also spoke about the future for the complex and what they will do next. Plans are currently in the works to add a new parking lot, walking trail and a drainage system to the complex.
“My board and I have long term and short term goals for this property,” Nicholson said. “We don’t want to develop this property just for soccer, but for the entire county. After all, this is the Upshur County Wellness Complex.”
He added, “In short term, we need to develop better parking. Right now we have people parking all up and down because there is nowhere to park. Second, we hope to develop a walking trail around the perimeter of the property. The trail would be available to anyone in the community at any given time.”
“Long term, we must do something about the drainage on the south end of the property,” Nicholson added. “Approximately 400 acres are unusable because it does not drain. We are looking for suggestions and resources to put this plan together in the long term.”
Nicholson told commissioners that he was given an estimate of $12,000 to apply rock to the current parking lot at the complex all the way down to the sign. He said the cost would include culvert pipe as well as a second entrance and exit.
“We’re a nonprofit organization,” he said. “We operate on sponsorships, donations and fundraising. This fall we’ve raised over $14,000 in sponsorships, a T-shirt fundraiser and raffles. We have numerous fundraisers planned in coming years.”
Nicholson asked commission if they would donate the $4,700 from the budget for the Wellness Complex.
Commissioner Troy A. “Buddy” Brady said “We might be willing to donate part of it. I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but I always have a problem with taking everything.”
The commissioners then thanked Nicholson for the work he and the UCYSA have done.
“I would like to personally thank you,” Brady said. “You’ve done an outstanding job. All of the work you and your volunteers have completed. You have taken this and really made something out of it. I’m so proud to be part of that.”
County administrator Carrie Wallace said they would speak with the company that the county contracts with to see what it would cost to finish clearing the land. The commission did not decide on an amount to donate but did agree to help fund the upcoming projects.