(Posted Sept. 7, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The village of West Jefferson aims to create a “Saturday in the Park” atmosphere for its celebration of the completion of major improvements at Garrette Park.
Hotdogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, ice cream, and a deejay are part of the plans for the dedication set for 12 to 3 p.m. Sept. 17 at the park. Local and state officials and supporters will be on hand. The public is invited to attend.
“The improvements are the result of a concerted effort by the whole village,” said Mayor Ray Martin. “The dedication is a chance to show appreciation for these new amenities for the residents, and a chance for residents to get to know their park.”
The improvements include new playground equipment with all-inclusive features for children of all ages and abilities, a new shelter house, new picnic table pads, and new sidewalks, landscaping, and fencing.
“The whole deal has changed. Nothing from yesterday is there. It’s just a brand new park, period,” Martin said.
Improvements also include two new handicap parking spaces at the front of the park. In cooperation with the West Jefferson Community Association, owner of the Ox Roast grounds adjacent to the park, the village also increased the size of the gravel parking area at the back of the park.
Most of the improvements were completed last year with some finishing work done this year. The total cost was approximately $589,000. Senator Bob Hackett of London helped the village to secure a capital grant of $197,000 toward the cost. Battelle Memorial Institute awarded the village a $25,000 grant. The village covered the rest of the cost.
West Jefferson’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its parks shifted focus to Westwood Park this year where several improvements are in progress.
Asphalt has been laid for a tennis court, two pickleball courts and a basketball court at Westwood Park. Next up is installation of nets and poles.
“It’s a brand new basketball court. They made it six feet wider than the previous one so that you can have one full court or two side-by-side half-courts,” Martin said.
Also going in at Westwood Park is a new fenced-in playground located next to the tennis court and parking lot. The new playground equipment will sit on a rubberized surface. Among the playground’s features will be a merry-go-round that seats six with three of the seats designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
“It’s really cool,” Martin said about the merry-go-round.
An obstacle course similar to the one installed at Cowling Park in London will be installed where the old playground was at the park.
“There’s quite a bit going in over there. It will be the crowning jewel of the neighborhood, no doubt,” Martin said.
If all goes well, the improvements at Westwood Park will be completed this fall. The timing depends on manpower, delivery of equipment, and weather, Martin noted.
Other projects on the radar for this year or next year are restrooms and a new nine-hole disc golf course at Westwood Park. Sometime in the future, the village also would like to install walking paths at both Westwood Park and Garrette Park.