CHARMCO, WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – If you’ve driven out on Route 60 through Rainelle and Rupert, you’ve passed the Meadow River Community Park in Charmco.
It’s a park that’s existed for 100 years. Built to be one of West Virginia’s roadside rest areas, it became the Greenbrier Youth Park up until 2008 when it became a project of the Meadow River Watershed Association and the local nonprofit Wellspring.
Now Wellspring is handing it over to the Meadow River Valley Association who has big plans for its future.
Co-directors and founders of Wellspring, Fred and Scarlett Kellerman, say it is time to give it to an organization with vision who can transform it.
“We felt that we should keep the park going because the community needed it,” Fred said. “The community pretty much demanded it, and we wanted to do that. We struggled at times to keep it going but it’s a wonderful park. It’s a wonderful facility. And we’re just so happy that now the Meadow River Association has taken over.”
The Meadow River Valley Association was born of the 2016 floods, and they have been working on economic development in the area since.
While they are in the planning stages of their other projects like the Rupert School, this seemed like a great opportunity to take over a project that could be used immediately.
While the over eight-acre park has most of what you need, they are planning on adding a boat launch into the Meadow River and a new and special shelter next to it dedicated to a beloved local coach.
“We’re going to build a new shelter in memory of Coach ‘Bud’ Whitlow that passed away this year,” Meadow River Valley Association President Matt Ford said. “It will have a fishing camp feel, so it will be a cool spot. It will be a boat launch with that shelter in memory of Coach Whitlow.”
The park has survived a century of different ownership and even a historic flood, but because of dedicated volunteers and leaders over the years, it still remains.
“It’s been a real pleasure to serve the community, and we want to thank the community leaders and all the volunteers who have been here and have been working on keeping the park up,” Scarlett said. “It’s been really hard for us after the flood. We had some problems with getting it put back together and so we want to thank those volunteers who have come and helped.”
If you are interested in volunteering for park cleanup, there is a group meeting at the park on Saturday at 9 a.m. to take down old playground equipment and paint the bathrooms.