Butterworth Discovery Park has FEMA Approval!
July 2, 2015- We FINALLY Got FEMA Approval!! Here is our journey on the project thus far and some background on A Healthy Clendenin.
A Healthy Clendenin is a local 501c3 community group working to promote health and fitness in the Clendenin Community. Our group collaborates with the Clendenin Health Center/Cabin Creek Health Systems, the Clendenin Women’s Club, 25045-A New Clendenin, and the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Department. We are a group of volunteers that consist of doctors, physician assistants, local business owners, retired navy officers, a retired medical administrative assistant and a current 20 year employee of the WV Bureau for Public Health. As you can see, we are a diverse group with one common goal and that is to improve the health and well-being of the people who live, work and visit the Town of Clendenin.
What lead us to the current project at hand:
March 10, 2014- At town council meeting, we requested the town council to hold off on making a decision on using the FEMA land, Located at 2 Cardinal Street as a parking lot. Mayor Bledsoe and the town council asked for more information on our plan and look into FEMA requirements on what can be located on it. We were invited to come back and address the council when we had more information.
March 11, 2014- Started an online petition at Change.org and went around town getting signatures in favor of a Natural Discover Park vs. Another Parking Lot.
March 24, 2014- Returned back to town council with petition consisting of 22 pages with 269 different signatures obtained within 2 weeks, all in favor of a park. We also had a FEMA handbook which outlined the Open Space management guidelines. These guidelines detailed what the FEMA land could and could not be used for and it did promote the use of open space land to be used for a park. Mayor Bledsoe and the town council asked to have more specific information on what will be put in the park and we were again encouraged to address the council when we had this information.
July 14, 2014- A Healthy Clendenin had the opportunity to apply for a mini grant at the Try This WV Conference held in Buckhannon, WV and as a result of that, we were awarded $1,250.00 towards this great venture of a Natural Discovery Park.
September 22, 2014- We returned back to address the town council with a PowerPoint presentation, handouts and large colorful, picturesque poster with the intended layout of the park. A Healthy Clendenin got the unanimous vote to proceed with putting in a proposal to FEMA for the park to be located on that land. Upon FEMA’s approval, the land will be used for the Natural Discovery Park.
October 24, 2014- A Healthy Clendenin was 1 of 10 winners chosen for another grant from the Get2Gether Neighborhood Challenge. That allowed us to have an online ioby (In Our BackYard) campaign in which up to $2,000.00 would be matched by Get2Gether. The total raised from that ioby campaign was $3,950.00 which means to date, A Healthy Clendenin had raised a total of $5,200.00 towards building “The Butterworth Discovery Park”.
February 19, 2015 - Our local FEMA representative, Mr. John Shelton Jr, turned in our proposal to create a natural playground on the lot to Mr. Mark Wallace, Hazard Mitigation Project Officer in Charleston.
February 19, 2015 to July 1, 2015- Kathy Slack touched base at least one or two times per month via E-mail and/or phone communication with Mr. Shelton and Mr. Wallace to see where the project stood.
July 2, 2015- A Healthy Clendenin got the official FEMA letter from Mr. Wallace granting a natural discovery playground to be built at 2 Cardinal Street with the verification that all items must be attached into the ground in a secure fashion so nothing could float away during another flood.
A Healthy Clendenin was able to secure some letters of commitment from a few different businesses to help make The Butterworth Discovery Park into a reality. Those included are from a company who will help with the design and installation, along with providing a reduced rate for the initial design consultation. Another is from an excavating company who will help remove the current asphalt located on the land to give us a fresh, level working area. In total, we have been able to secure 5 different businesses that will all dedicate their time and resources, or offer a reduced rate, to make this Discovery Park a reality. There have also been a few folks in the community who have expressed their interest in donating the wood and bamboo needed to build the structures in the park. These folks are in the process of having trees & bamboo taken down on their private property and they would like to donate the timber towards creating the Natural Discovery Park. We also have the local Clendenin Cub Scout Pack 144 and Boy Scout Troop 144 willing to put forth community service hours in helping us build the Park. Our goal is to have the full Clendenin community help us build it, so it is a Natural Discovery Park our town built for its own children and citizens to enjoy.