Huge rocks unearthed by construction of a four lane highway entering in to the small mountain town of Davis, West Virginia, as well as similar projects in other states, seeded an idea that gained momentum after informal conversations with a variety of residents, visitors, and property owners.
In the summer of 2013, an opportunity presented itself when a potential site became available. The staff of Tucker Community Foundation introduced the project to representatives from county boards, organizations and other interested parties to determine the worthiness and viability of the project.
At the conclusion of three, well-attended community meetings, it was agreed the boulder project should be pursued. The Town of Davis stepped up, offering a parcel of land in the southeast corner of the Davis Ball Park. Western Pocahontas Properties, owners of property connecting the boulder park with another trail system, agreed, contingent upon completion of the Boulder Park, to allow a new section of non-motorized trail connecting the Boulder Park, across Rt. 93 to the proposed Rail to Trail project. The WV Division of Highways approved signage for the new section of trail, and Heart of the Highlands agreed to support the trail construction through a donation of materials. Tucker Community Foundation agreed to seek and administer grant support and facilitate an ongoing fundraising campaign.
As a philanthropic organization, Tucker Community Foundation is using the community enhancement project to also build support for Tucker County Emergency Medical Services, an organization that will be directly impacted by the arrival of Corridor H. Donors to the project have the option to dedicate a portion of their contribution to establish an endowed fund supporting Tucker County EMS. Dominion Foundation, the first donor to the Boulder Park project, designated a portion of their $25,000 donation to establish an the fund. By the end of 2014, the fund exceeded $14,000.
The Tucker Boulder Park will include three manufactured climbing boulders with interchangeable hand grips for route re-setting. The project budget is @ $500,000.
- To date, a $150,000 WV Department of Transportation Recreational Trail grant has been secured to create the Tucker Boulder Park trail head, kiosk and connecting trail to the Allegheny Highlands rail trail. Trail construction is expected to begin Summer 2017 under the direction of E.L. Robinson Engineering.
- Grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund have been approved for the purchase and installation of the extra large (1300 sf) and small (400sf) climbing boulders.
- The Town of Davis awarded contracts (December 2016) to Sunrise Construction Company, Inc., Moatsville, WV, and Entre-Prises USA, Inc., Bend, Oregon to construct and install the first two boulders in the spring / summer of 2017.
- Fundraising is underway to support the purchase and installation of the 3rd and final boulder (700sf). Site renderings and park design are under the direction of Chapman Technical Group.
- Tucker County Parks and Recreation grants have provided a total of $6,000 to purchase park benches and other amenities.
- The Oakland Foundation provided grant support for the child sized boulder.
- A generous community of donors has contributed more than $110,000.
- Under the direction of Chip and Adam Chase, Team Boulder Park continues to mount the podium in Run For It, raising significant support and awareness for the project.
- In-kind donations are helping us climb by providing equipment and manpower for site development.
- Additional grants and donations are being sought to help us complete the project.
Collaborations continue to grow. Many individuals are volunteering their time and expertise to help the project. Special thanks to Alice Fleishman at East-West Printing, Michael and Joel for t-shirt design, Matt for web design, Chip Chase for Run For It efforts, and Adam Chase and others who will assist with route setting and boulder design.