Fort Boreman developing handicapped accessible trail

PARKERSBURG – Wood County parks director Jeremy Cross said the design for a new trail at Fort Boreman Hill Park should be completed within the next two weeks.

“I’ve met with the Department of Transportation several times and we have worked out the bugs on the trail system. The original plan called for the trail along the cliff above Route 50. That was found to be unsafe. So the DOT and state historic preservation officials met with me on site. They have approved moving that trail up to the next flat,” Cross told county commissioners on Monday.

The county has already been awarded a $78,682 trail grant for the work. Cross said because the design follows a similar contour, it’s just a slight relocation, the approval process was expedited.

“Both from a standpoint of the least amount of disruption of the ground, from a historic standpoint, and from the hillside stability, it was decided a boardwalk style construction would be best,” Cross told commissioners. The boardwalk will be about 400 feet.

“It will all be Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant. There will be two observation decks, and I planned for some panoramic pictures of the town of Parkersburg from the beginning to now, showing the history of the area. From there, steps will lead down to the trail which will go around the natural design, in and out of the rocks. We’re trying to keep it as natural as possible,” Cross said.

Cross said the boardwalk will open up the view to downtown.

“That sounds like it should make the trail visably appealing and of interest,” said Wayne Dunn, commission president.

“We have been given the OK for design, with the commission’s approval I can get started on that,” Cross said.

Cross said the DOT has given permission to use the Citizen Conservation Corps, based in Beckley to do the design and construction of the trail.

“That should save us a good deal of money, close to 25 percent. They have professionals who do design of trails, it’s a perfect fit,” Cross said.

In other business, the parks director said he was also exploring the possibility of instituting a fee rental for shelters at Fort Boreman and Veterans Park. There is already a $100-a-day large shelter rental fee for the shelters at Mountwood Park.

“I’d like to see a breakdown of what the other parks in Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown charge for their shelter rental before making a final decision,” said Commissioner Blair Couch.

Cross said if approved, revenue from the fees could be used for park maintenance.

“Just about every park I’ve worked for had a fee for shelter use,” Cross said.

“The more we can make it self-sustaining the better,” Dunn said.