“This is an exciting day,” said White Sulphur Springs Mayor Lloyd Haynes at a groundbreaking ceremony at Memorial Park on Monday, June 5.
“At first we thought it would be simple to get FEMA approval for grants, but additional work required that we dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s to get to where we are today,” the mayor said. “It’s taken a long while, but it’s enough to say we’re on our way.”
Six inches of sod will be scraped from Memorial Park’s ball fields to remove the contamination caused by last summer’s flooding. The restoration, done by Lynch Construction Company, will include new drain lines and irrigation, new fencing and new top soil. The basketball court will get new hardtop surfacing as well. The fields, once restored, will remain a football and a softball field. FEMA will reimburse the city once the restoration job is done, projected to take a year, the mayor said.
Hope Village’s Mylan Community Park will complement the ball fields at Memorial Park with two new Little League fields and two new soccer fields, which, Parks Commissioner and council member Audrey Van Buren said, were spear-headed by soccer coach Jason deHaven.
A related, but separate, endeavor, not funded by FEMA, is the swimming pool at Memorial Park, out of commission for the past three years. The city has been stockpiling and fund raising for the pool, amassing almost $7,000. The cost for a new swimming pool has not been determined, but with seed money from an anonymous donor that will match the the $250,000 Arts and Recreation grant funding, contributed by the Greenbrier County Commission, it is hoped others will be encouraged to contribute to the pool project, anticipated to be in the $1 million-$2 million price range. The funds will be used to hire a design firm to plan the new pool and to pay for the demolition of the old pool. Haynes said the city will be advertising for bids to demolish the old swimming pool in the near future.
“This is the best opportunity for us to get the pool replaced that we have ever had,” said Haynes.