Pocahontas Parks & Rec fundraising for wellness center
Marlinton, W.Va. – Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation board member Brenda Doss was skeptical when she first learned of plans to build a wellness center in Marlinton. But, once she learned of the variety of services the center would offer, she became a believer.
“Well, this is something that’s badly needed for the whole community,” she said. “As you know, everybody’s on the wellness kick nowadays. West Virginia, especially, is needing facilities like this, badly. This community, especially needs it. We need a place – a gathering place – where we can have meetings and classes and a place where we can work out and keep ourselves healthy.”
The county received $2.9 million in grant money for the wellness center project. Parks and Recreation Division director Lauren Bennett says more money was needed after construction quotes were received.
“Essentially, we were looking at needing approximately $150,000 to $200,000 to get what we needed, on top of the grant money we had,” she said. “We were able to come up with enough to the contract price, so that we could go ahead and sign a contract and get the work started. At the moment, we’ve raised between $70,000-$80,000. So, we’re still hoping to come up with, like I said, about $150,000.”
Doss recounts several instances when the people of Pocahontas County rallied to raise money and donations of work and supplies to get a project done.
“The communities have been known to do this before in the past,” she said. “I know of two community centers – the Edray Community Center and the Central Union Community Center – that were built by donations. The old cafeteria building, which is the Parks and Rec headquarters now and the rooms where they have some fitness equipment. The community came together with donations and built that. At that time, that was built out of cinder block and we asked them to buy a block. There’s also the old PE Room, that used to be the Music Building, and we built that for the music program there at Marlinton Elementary/Junior High. That was done almost entirely by donations.”
Bennett says local government and businesses have already pitched in.
“Locally, the county commission gave us a donation,” she said. “The Town of Marlinton has given us a donation. The banks in the county have participated and made a donation to us. But, we are getting to that point where we didn’t want to cut anymore from the project.”
Doss recalls more examples of generous community members getting the job done.
“Also, the libraries,” she said. “Green Bank Library, I remember them – ‘Buy a brick. Just give us enough to buy a brick.’ The Little League baseball field, the old Little League baseball field was built entirely with volunteer funds. Part of the hospital was done with volunteer funds. All that excavating up there – a lot of it was done by Robert Sharp and Marvin Doss – and that was done free of charge.”
Bennett says Parks and Recreation has until June to raise the remaining $80,000.
“They do have up to a year, which would take them, allow them through June to finish,” she said. “Anywhere through that time period, the money would be greatly appreciated.”
“We’re trying to come up with some fundraisers. When we get those out, we hope that the public will actively support those. Every little donation helps.”
Doss is confident the people of Pocahontas County can get it done – again.
“Everybody needs to be thinking, down the road, about how much they can give and open up their pocketbooks and help out, when somebody asks, and just try to help us raise this money so we can get this thing paid for,” she said. “I still think we’ll be able to do it.”
For information on how to help the wellness center project, call Parks and Recreation at 304-799-7386.