FAYETTEVILLE — Fayette County commissioners formally were presented Friday with four acres of property in the Paint Creek area, courtesy of the state Division of Highways. Volunteers in the Pax area hope to convert the tract into a tourist attraction featuring a scenic trail, a handicap-accessible fishing pier and visual overlooks.

“Paint Creek is a given billboard,” commission president Matthew Wender exulted, referring to the area’s proximity to the West Virginia Turnpike. “It’s almost too good to be true.”

According to Wender, commissioners attended a meeting in Pax last April with members of the Upper Paint Creek Watershed Association and the Division of Highways’ Ward Lefler. Lefler indicated commissioners could request to be given the property. If they declined, DOH had plans to auction it.

Commissioners made a formal written request to DOH, asking that the property be donated to the commission with the understanding it would in turn be leased to the Paint Creek Scenic Trail Association (PCSTA).

Prior to this, the watershed association gained scenic backway status for the Paint Creek Road, which runs from Tamarack to Handley.

In March, it was awarded an $80,000 National Scenic Byways Grant to develop a corridor management plan. Wender added the group had been in existence and working on this project for at least six years.

“I want to thank Ward Lefler and Jim Lagos (of DOH) for their can-do approach and for moving this property transfer request along quickly,” Wender said.

“I also want to congratulate the members of the UPCWA and the PCSTA, along with the town of Pax, for their cooperation, their vision and their dogged pursuit to make this trail reality. The Fayette County commission is proud to be associated and play a small role in the effort.”

UPCWA president Howard Hughes is not wasting any time hosting activities in the area. His group welcomes everyone to the third annual Paint Creek bicycle ride on Oct. 14. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. at Tamarack, and the ride peddles off at 10 a.m. The ride will go from Tamarack to a fishing pier 40 miles away in Kanawha County.

A registration fee of $25 is required. Fishing and a hot dog sale will take place at the pier. For early registration or for directions, contact Hughes at 877-2610.

- - -

In other business, commissioners:

-- Unanimously agreed to form a committee of four to look into the merits or faults of a system that is generally referred to as “reverse 911.”

Butch Evans made a presentation of his company’s Wide Area Rapid Notification program, which stores a database of phone numbers and rapidly contacts people in the affected area of whatever disaster may be imminent.

According to Evans, president of Software Computer Group Inc., the national system is capable of making 6,000 30-second calls per minute. On a county level, he estimated anywhere from 300 to 500 numbers could be called in a given minute.

The service is acquired by subscription over the Internet. While 911 officials expressed doubts and concerns about the idea, Evans shared a success story of a girl who was lost in Illinois. WARN performed an announcement for all homes within a one-mile radius of the town, and the girl was located in 10 minutes at a zoo.

The committee consists of Fayette County Emergency Services director Steve Cruikshank, 911 director David Neal, Sheriff Bill Laird, and health official Diane Morris. The four will meet, explore the concept and report back to the commission at a future date.

-- Decided to employ a director for the Fayette County Family Resource Network after advertising for the position as a part-time regular employee. The employee would be housed on the third floor of the courthouse and would work 32 hours each week.

-- Heard from Fred Hypes, an engineer for the Arbuckle Public Service District, on financial difficulties the PSD is experiencing. According to Hypes, the PSD has six pumps out of service and is facing legal challenges from pump manufacturers who are taking the PSD to court over unpaid bills.

County Prosecutor Carl Harris offered to have someone from his office call the court and offer pro bono legal counsel from an assistant prosecutor’s private law office. Hypes said the PSD already had a $12,000 judgment against it in Wayne County and is resolving another $8,000 challenge in Kanawha County.

— E-mail: mhill@register-herald.com

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you