Editorials, Opinion

Now you can show love to your local park

A little over a week ago, members of The Dominion Post Editorial Board met with Denver Allen (previous BOPARC board president), Mayor Jenny Selin (current BOPARC board president) and Lance Rollo (newly minted president of the BOPARC Foundation) to learn about what they described as BOPARC’s philanthropic arm.

The BOPARC Foundation (theboparcfoundation.org) is a nonprofit with the express purpose of raising money to support BOPARC projects.

Why does BOPARC need a fundraising arm?

The simple answer: Building and maintaining top-notch recreation facilities are expensive.

The city continues to send tax and levy revenue BOPARC’s way, and the money from this fiscal year will be used as bonding leverage for big projects like the ice arena and the Marilla revamp. But there are dozens of other parks — big and small — that need maintained or redone, not to mention all the trails. That’s where the BOPARC Foundation comes in. It will fill the gaps between the money coming from the city and county and the real cost of maintaining everything. It’ll also be able to contribute funds to BOPARC in case of an emergency, like if a piece of equipment breaks and there’s not enough money in the budget to fix or replace it.

Our favorite part of the Foundation’s set up is that donations can be earmarked for specific projects. Super enthusiastic about the new tennis courts or skate park at Marilla? You can donate directly to either project. Live near Jack Roberts Park and want to see it get some attention? Donate to the Jack Roberts Park fund. Love to walk the rail trails but hate the shape they’re in? Support repair efforts by donating to the trails fund. Spend most of your summer at Krepps and want to see the facilities there upgraded? Select “Krepps Park” when you submit your donation.

You will see your money make a difference in your own neighborhood.

We hope the Foundation will expand its offerings to include some of the smaller neighborhood parks, as well as to allow donors to dedicate money to specific improvements, like adding water fountains or replacing playground equipment.

The words “quality of life” came up multiple times in the meeting, because parks and recreation opportunities undeniably contribute to quality of life not just in Morgantown, but throughout Monongalia County. Families and individuals come from all around the region to enjoy the scenic trails in the spring and fall, the parks and pools in the summer and the ice rink in winter.

Companies are learning that quality of life is important to employees, and businesses looking to make their home in our region are looking for the amenities and services they know their employees will want — like plenty of green spaces, beautiful parks, top-notch facilities and well-maintained trails. A well-funded parks and recreation system benefits current and future residents, so we all win when BOPARC is at its best.