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New pool, action sports park envisioned for Marilla Park

MORGANTOWN — An $8-$10 million project to overhaul BOPARC’s 60-plus-year-old Marilla Pool is officially on the starting block.

The city’s park commission welcomed about a dozen members of the community to the Marilla Center earlier this week to provide input and hear from The Thrasher Group and aquatic facility design firm Counsilman-Hunsaker.

Counsilman-Hunsaker’s George Deines said that the crown jewel of Marilla Park has more than doubled the 30-year lifespan expected of outdoor pools.

“We found essentially what you’d expect to find from a pool that is over 60 years old,” Deines said, adding the project will need new, ground-up construction given the size and condition of the pool.

The question now becomes what will that construction look like. Will it include a lazy river? Dedicated aerobics areas? Water slides, splash pads and spraygrounds? A climbing wall?

Thrasher’s Sam Rich said answering those questions was among the goals of a recent survey, which received just over 300 responses.

Among the most-requested amenities? Shaded seating areas.

“We’re just trying to get a grasp of how you want to proceed and what the community wants this facility to look like,” he said.

BOPARC Executive Director Melissa Wiles said the timeline of the project will be determined by multiple factors, including the length of the public input process and the need to time the work around swimming season.

“It’s going to be tough to do that, but it is one of the things we have to think about because it is a revenue-producing facility,” Wiles said, adding that the $8-$10 million budget will be bonded against BOPARC’s dedicated revenue from the city’s sales tax, which took effect in 2020.

It’s one of two major projects, including a rebuild of the Morgantown Ice Arena, that BOPARC intends to finance, at least partially, through bond sales.

But the pool isn’t the only project desired for Marilla Park.

Thursday’s envisioning session came about 24 hours after BOPARC’s board of directors approved the expenditure of $10,000 in hotel/motel funds for concepts and designs tied to an updated and upgraded skate park.

Actually, BOPARC Assistant Director Marissa Travinski explained, the proper term is “action sports park” as it could incorporate components for bikes and roller skating as well, depending on the needs of the community.

Wiles said BOPARC will work with American Ramp Co., the same company that designed the current skate park, which is 20 years old.

She went on to say that BOPARC hopes to use sales tax revenue not tied up in bonding to assist with that project.

“They would come in, do an assessment, work with us on a design, handle public input … and then we would have an idea of how much something like that is going to cost,” she said.

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