Parks group considering land purchase at Mountwood Park

VOLCANO — The Wood County Parks and Recreation Commission is looking at buying land it leases near Mountwood Park.

The property includes some of the park’s horse riding trails.

The commission also is looking at extending the lease for an organization providing addiction recovery services at White Oak Village.

Officials with Dominion Energy appeared before the parks and recreation commission this week to offer the park a chance to buy around 1,000 acres it owns and has been leasing to the park for the last 10 years, said Mountwood Park Director Jeremy Cross.

The park has around 25 miles of horse riding trails with some of the trails on this property and around it, Cross said.

A price for the entire property or a price per acre has not been released.

“We are looking at all options,” Cross said of the park looking at ways the park might purchase the property. Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch, who serves on the park board, said Dominion Energy is looking to sell off non-performing properties for other uses.

“The park’s board is interested in keeping it,” he said. “Dominion wants us to take ownership.”

There are around 3,000 acres the park uses for horse riding, including other properties outside the park.

Cross said the horse trails are used consistently and the park has a horse camp area with stables where people can put their horses and are able to camp nearby.

Dominion Energy has owned the property since 1957, said Dominion communications specialist Samantha B. Norris.

“…this year, Dominion Energy reviewed our current and future needs and decided to sell,” she said. “Out of respect for our long-term relationship with this community, we came to the Mountwood Park Board of Directors first to discuss their possible interest in purchasing the land that borders the park.”

In other business, officials with the Harmony Ridge Recovery Center appeared before the board to open negotiations to extend their lease of the White Oak facility at Mountwood Park.

“They want to change their short-term lease to a long-term lease,” Cross said.

They want to extend it to a 10-year lease with six 5-year renewal options, he said.

Couch said that would have Harmony Ridge committed to the facility for many years to come.

They have been paying their rent on time and providing a needed service, he said.

“We are excited they want to stay,” Couch said.

Harmony Ridge officials will be presenting a proposal at the next board meeting which the board will look at and make recommendations on, Cross said.

The board is applying for a $400,000 Governor’s Community Participation Grant to replace the air handler system at the main building at White Oak Village.

The current system dates back to the 1970s when the facility was first built.

“We are not in a position to replace that on our own,” Couch said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com.