Towns are like outbuildings. You often have to clean a little to discover the treasure. Even then, to see any worth, you may have to imagine how a piece fits into an overall design.
When discovered, it is all about utilizing what you have for a purpose.
Such is the Marlinton Wet-Lands Project – an idea that took about two years to secure an agreement between owners of the proposed site. Good for little else, this 6.2 acre property, owned by the Railroad Authority, joined a narrow strip of property owned by the Town of Marlinton.
Adopted August 2019, The Town’s Comprehensive Plan, on Page 98 of 122, describes working with federal, state and local agencies and organizations to restore wetlands located between the Greenbrier River Trail and Fourth Avenue. Partners included the US Forest Service, WVU School of Design and Community Development, Watoga State Park, Greenbrier River Trail State Park, Greenbrier Railroad Association, and the West Virginia Conservation Agency.
Project costs would be dependent on design and size of project grant funding.
In the overall scheme of things, the project may not rate high by itself. But, as a part of an overall design, it’s value will rise as other lesser parts of the puzzle are filled in.
So, with an idea to clean up the area, known mostly as the slough, we applied for and received the FOCUS Grant. Certainly, $5,000 is not enough to complete the project, but it is enough to take the next steps. Already, contact has been made with an engineering firm that is willing to proceed with an environmental assessment. Then, depending on remaining funds, we hope to have enough dollars left over to complete a final design, that will enhance, preserve and protect the natural beauty of the site.
The goal is to clean the area of trash and debris, highlighting the remains of a century old railroad turntable near the water-tower. The turntable will draw train enthusiasts to the area. Restoring a pond could be a focus point of the park. Benches and walkways would attract hikers and birdwatchers. Completion of this project could encourage property owners to clean up the other side of Fourth Avenue, providing incentive to invest in or sell those properties.
Ironically, these Fourth Avenue properties hold numerous building sites that are out-of-the-flood-plain, have available municipal water and sewer utilities, internet and cell-service, and are suitable for weekend, vacation or second homes.
As Mayor of Marlinton, I have been activity engaged with the development of Mon Forest Town Partnership and its efforts to grow the region’s recreation economy.
The Marlinton Wetlands Project fits the recreation initiative.