Commission funds trails project

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Commission agreed to donate $5,000 to the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The commission also voted to give Kim Coram, with the Hiking, Biking and Trails Coalition, $2,500 to put together a coalition to help with area hiking, biking trails.

On Veterans Day, attorney David Huffman issued a challenge to the commission and city of Parkersburg to each match his $5,000 donation to the museum.

“We were waiting to see if the city kicked in. We have assisted the museum in the past and they also receive some of the county’s hotel/motel tax funds,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

The commissioners unanimously voted to contribute $5,000 to the museum building fund.

On Jan. 28 Gary Farris, museum director, told commissioners the museum is running out of room and a larger facility is needed. The museum, at 1829 Seventh St., Parkersburg, offers more than 1,700 square feet of displays, exhibits, memorabilia honoring veterans of all services from World War I to the present. Farris said the board has put away $23,000 so far for the building project.

Late last week, it was announced the IBEW Local Union 968 would allow the museum to use the space on the upper floor in the building housing the museum for storage and other needs. Museum officials said they will continue to try and locate a larger facility.

The county commission earlier donated $3,200 from video lottery proceeds to help the museum improve its security system after there was a break-in at the facility.

The commission also voted to give Coram $2,500.

“There were a variety of requests submitted, we could go ahead and provide this funding then meet with her again regarding the other two requests for $300 each,” Couch said.

“We are trying to improve the quality of life through a network of hiking, biking trails. Kim has been the centerpiece with her work with the city of Parkersburg. Other agencies seem not to be joining,” Commissioner Wayne Dunn said.

During an earlier meeting with the commission, Coram said a plan developed through the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department needs to be implemented, looking at trails in the area as a transportation network.

Coram was retained by the county to inventory area trails. That information was then compiled on a website. She was earlier paid $4,500 to conduct an inventory of the existing trails and an additional $300 to make the information available on the Internet.

Coram’s most recent request was for $2,500 to put together the coalition to help with the trails; $300 to update the trails website and another $300 for promotional materials.