There are still ten remaining days until the first ‘official’ day of winter, so you may think it is a little early to be thinking about outdoor recreation like concerts at the AMP or a visit to the VA Park’s fairly new Splash Zone. Right now, perhaps minds are a little more focused on the upcoming visit from Santa Claus. However, for those who work for the City Parks of Clarksburg, it is not too early! They’re already working ahead, planning events, and lining up improvements.
In fact, you could say that Santa arrived a little early for Clarksburg City Parks. Just last week, they learned some positive news regarding grants for which they had applied.
Superintendent of Parks John Cooper says he is thrilled to have received $123,000 in grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“We received two grants,” Cooper noted. “The largest one is for $100,000, and that funding will be used to purchase and install grandstand seating at the VA Park’s Amphitheater. We’ll be removing the existing bleachers and the new grandstands will expand our seating capacity as well as provide AMP patrons with ADA seating, handrails and ramps to allow wheelchair access. The nice thing is that we will also reuse our existing seating; it will be installed around our soccer fields and youth baseball fields and perhaps some in playground areas that are operated by the Parks Commission.”
The City of Clarksburg also received an additional $23,000 grant to construct lighted walkways that will connect the upper and lower parking areas at the VA Park.
“This will be very beneficial for overflow parking,” he explained. “On days, for instance, when the pool is busy, folks visiting the Splash Zone will be able to access additional parking on the upper lot, and it can be used as well for overflow parking during crowded AMP events.”
Cooper says the $23,000 grant will also help provide additional shade structures at the Splash Zone – fabric canopies that will offer more shade to visitors.
“This is the third year in a row we have been successful applying for grant funding through the Land and Water Conservation program,” he continued. “In previous years, these grants have allowed us to do bath house renovations, add two new shelters and a set of restrooms at the Veterans Park.”
The grants, Cooper added, are matching funds. “We will be matching this money in both cases, and we feel very fortunate to have some funds set aside for these types of things. The big picture is that both the AMP and the Splash Zone produce money for us, and attendance certainly reflects their popularity. So we’re very pleased to be able to enhance these areas even more.”
Additionally, Clarksburg City Parks oversees 15 neighborhood parks in the Clarksburg area from which they receive no revenues.
“Income we receive from our money-producers – such as the AMP and the Splash Zone – help us better serve our purpose at our neighborhood parks as well,” he stated.
Yes, even though it is December, it is not ‘slack time’ for John Cooper. He has other grants he is working on for future improvements and he is already negotiating offers for next summer’s concerts, a task he says is very competitive.
“Country acts seem to be the most popular in this area. One of our concerts actually completely sold out in 40 minutes!” he noted. “But we’re looking into some other genres of music as well so that we can provide a well-rounded summer of entertainment. We will also continue with our movies and music in the park series this coming summer – and we’d like to add a few new events this year as well.”
While area residents may be awaiting the arrival of the first big snow, John Cooper and his staff are shoveling through negotiations and contracts to bring summer entertainment to north central West Virginia!