By Bobby Bordelon\r\n\r\nA special request after the passing of Greenbrier West High School Coach Bud Whitlow last year is the spark behind upcoming renovations of the Meadow River Community Park.\r\n\r\nIn lieu of flowers, Whitlow and the family requested donations for the improvements of the Meadow River Valley, a request friends obliged.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe passed away about a year ago, and when he did, his family asked people to donate to the Meadow River Community Park in lieu of flowers,\u201d explained Matt Ford, a local Meadow River Valley organizer. \u201cWe ended up getting a little over $3,000 in donations.\u201d\r\n\r\nWork on the Meadow River Community Park, including on a shelter and outdoor classroom, became the consensus, with one condition.\r\n\r\n\u201cI was talking to [his widow], trying to figure out the best use of this money, \u2026 he had always been a supporter of the park,\u201d Ford said. \u201cOne thing he didn't like, and no one liked, [is that] right now that park has concrete picnic tables made out of old guardrail concrete. They are not going anywhere, but they're terrible to sit on and they look awful. Some of our shelters need replaced, so his wife said 'whatever you do, don't put concrete picnic tables down there, cause he hated those.'\u201d\r\n\r\n<img class=" wp-image-61539 alignleft" src="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2021\/04\/158259241_3866405093435074_8521073293598930269_n-300x228.jpg" alt="" width="447" height="340" \/>Greenbrier West High School offered to construct new benches for the park. Soon after, Mark Bowe and Cindy Lavender-Bowe toured the Meadow River Rail Trail and, upon hearing of the project, offered to build much of the needed infrastructure at cost.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey found out about this project, the Rail Trail, and they wanted to help in some way,\u201d Ford said. \u201cThe stars aligned \u2013 we had a little bit of money, they wanted to help, and [we decided] to build a shelter in memory of Whitlow.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Meadow River is one of those places in West Virginia that you can\u2019t forget once you\u2019ve seen it,\u201d explained Mark Bowe. \u201cWe have been blessed with the success of a hit TV show and this is a great way to give back to our community.\u201d\r\n\r\nFord estimates the project will come together over the summer, and will be reaching out to foundations and writing grant applications to bolster the donations.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe need to have money for the concrete pad, put a roof on it, so we're in the process of raising money for that. It's probably around $15,000 or $20,000 total, \u2026 that's probably about where it'll be. \u2026 We're looking at doing that this summer, I'm pretty confident we'll be able to hit the fundraising goal. We're going to make it happen.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis is not the only project going up \u2013 the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is working on a river access point in the park throughout 2021. Because of the proximity to this project, and because of Whitlow, the shelter and outdoor classroom\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were thinking we need to rebuild the shelter - it would have a fishing theme because it'll be near this boat access and [Whitlow] was a big time fisher in the Meadow River,\u201d Ford said.\r\n\r\nIf you would like to donate or request more information, please contact Matt Ford, President of MRVA at firstname.lastname@example.org.