PARKERSBURG - Neighbors of Mountwood Park voiced concerns Thursday night over the expected launch of Adventures ATV Park.
Mountwood board members said they wanted to ensure the safety and regulation of such a park by placing ordinances with it. Park officials looked to Wood County compliance officer John Reed to organize the ATV trails and work for the park.
Reed formed a committee of advocates who would address concerns and spend time and money on the project. Tim Graham of Tim Graham Excavating donated equipment and labor to create the ATV trails.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
John Reed, center, explains where the ATV trails at Mountwood Park would be located while Mountwood Park Board President Bob Buchanan, right, and board treasurer Blair Couch, left, listen.
Mountwood hasn't had an ATV park since 1996.
Reed said the park would need to collaborate with Dominion Transmission for an access road off U.S. 50 and the nearby mine owned by Martin Marietta. Dominion wrote a letter supporting the trail project as long as regulations are met on its behalf, including fencing.
Thursday's meeting was to allow neighbors of the park and residents near the proposed ATV park to ask questions and comment on the plans.
Rod Barrett, treasurer for the ATV board, said the addition of trails could be a great way to improve funding to the park.
"Some rules are better than no rules and have been beneficial," he said of the Hatfields and McCoys Trails in southern West Virginia.
County residents were concerned with the safety and noise control of the trails. One neighbor, Jay Harris, has land on the south end of the park on the boarder of where trails would be going. He voiced his concerns about regulations and riders coming onto his property.
"How are you going to keep people from coming off the trails?" he asked. "These trails will entertain them for a few short months."
Jeff McCrady, local game biologist with the Division of Natural Resources, mentioned a lease agreement the park has for that area of land.
"We have a lease agreement on this property until March 2014; in order to have four-wheelers in this area you're going to have to break our lease agreement," McCrady said. "You can't shoot or hunt within 500 feet of an area like that, which pretty much eliminates (hunting) on that side."
Some people expressed the positive aspects of having a park where people can spend a day with their family and friends. Steve Brown spoke about the advantages of having an ATV park in Wood County.
"I ride, and have been riding all over the East Coast," said Brown. "The masses will police around for the simple reason that we don't have any place to ride."
Brown said those who are breaking the rules will be caught. A park will offer people who are doing the right thing a safe place to ride.
"I think they should have a park," said Harris.
Another resident said the one time price for riding all year would be a money saver for those hauling ATVs to the southern part of the state.
"We're not here for any special interest; we're just trying to make this park something this county can be proud of," said board member Andrew Borkowski.