04.24.2019


A new park is set to literally SPRING up along the scenic Greenbrier River in beautiful Pocahontas County, West Virginia: Discovery Junction Community Park. Working with the Town of Marlinton’s Park Steering Committee, E.L. Robinson’s landscape architects are busy developing plans for the planned 0.33-acre park on a vacant lot in the center of downtown Marlinton. Strategically located immediately beside the historic Pocahontas Opera House (c. 1910), on the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway, and within walking distance to the Greenbrier River Rail-Trail, Mayor Sam Felton, Jr. expects to gain much traffic to this new “city center” park. “We anticipate quite a bit of tourism traffic to be driven our way once the new park is completed, with the proximity to so many recreational and scenic attractions already found in Marlinton and Pocahontas County, we hope our cool little town becomes a destination”, says Mayor Felton.

The new park will feature an exposed timber-frame outdoor stage and farmer’s market walk, and a spray park that will feature an animated black bear scaling a large tree, with water cascading down from the tree dripline. Other splash pad amenities will be included to keep park users cool and active in this unique water environment. The stage will be outfitted to allow for weekend outdoor concerts and plays, as well as doubling as a farmer’s market for local agriculturalists to market locally-grown produce. The park will incorporate rustic and natural materials, much of which can be found in Pocahontas County and the surrounding area. The stage will be constructed of locally harvested timber and veneered with river stone from local sources. The park will also utilize environmentally friendly, green materials such as park benches made from recycled plastics, enviro-pavers, LED lights with self-contained solar panels, and bio-retention rain gardens and pollinator gardens with native and naturalized plant materials. Lauren Bennett, Marlinton’s Parks and Recreation Director, hopes the park will “serve as a prime example of how city parks can be a recreational amenity for all users, and also demonstrate environmentally-responsible design and construction techniques to young people of our community.”

The conceptual design for Discovery Junction was developed through the Community Engagement Lab (https://extension.wvu.edu/community-business-safety/community-development/community-engagement-lab) in the School of Design and Community Development at West Virginia University. Programming and spatial organization for the project, as well as, partnership development and character-defining features desired in the space derived from participatory activities that engaged community members and WVU students in the landscape architecture program. Graduate students, Carly Clevenstine and Niharika Alahari, contributed to the final concept design that assisted the community in applying for grants and generating community support for the project.

Construction of the park is expected to begin in late spring to early summer 2019. For more information about the project please contact Todd Schoolcraft, Director of Landscape Architecture at E.L. Robinson Engineering, at tschoolcraft@elrobinson.com or by calling 304.776.7473.