Smithers residents hear proposal for new park

SMITHERS, WV (WOAY) – The town of Smithers, WV, held a public meeting tonight to discuss the proposals for a new park. The park will be placed on the site of the old Oakland School.

“That school was built in the early 1900s and then added on to in 1955. It was the first through the eighth grade, and it was strictly a community school,” said Smithers Mayor Anne Cavalier.

The Oakland School, which sits on the corner of Oak Street and Kanawha Avenue has been empty for years and has become an eyesore. However, the city received a grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to create a public park on the old school site which sits on the Kanawha River.

“We sit right on beautiful Kanawha River, and we have no way to get to the river from a public standpoint,” Mayor Cavalier said. “If you live on the river you can get to the river if you don’t live on the river it’s tough. So we are excited about having a way where our residents can get to the river put in a kayak, canoe, water board, and just have some good fun.”

The city of Smithers has partnered with the WVDEP and Thrasher Engineering to design the new park. The proposed ideas include a basketball court, splash pad, kayak ramp, and boat dock for the residents and visitors of Smithers. Additionally, city members also discussed ways to make the park environmentally friendly with recycled water and solar panels.

“It feels great, and I know that our contractor, Thrasher, is going to incorporate all of the ideas tonight into some additional conceptual site drawings,” said Brownfield’s Program Manager Erin Brittain. “Since several people were talking about utilizing solar panels and recycling water systems and things like that.”

The mayor also said that the park would be a great way to bring the community together after the pandemic ends.