The City of Ranson was fortunate to have received 29.7 acres of land that were dedicated to the city for the purposes of developing a community park located between Home Depot and Flowing Springs Road adjacent to Route 9.
The dedicated land was originally part of a larger parcel that was previously used as farmland but has been idle for several years and is now proposed for commercial and residential development. The original parcel and other adjoining parcels were annexed into the city in recent years and are planned for commercial and residential developments.
The city has established Flowing Springs Park, a public park on the 29.7 acres, for non-motorized recreation and intends to maintain a more natural environment in this future urban area and to provide:
- Wildlife viewing areas
- Pedestrian trail network
- Bicycle route
- Interpretive markers
A preliminary concept plan for a trail in this park was included with the sketch plan for the adjoining subdivision, which at full build-out will include neighborhood trails connecting to this park’s trail network.
On the other side of Route 9, dense residential and commercial developments are currently under construction. Fortunately, there already exists an underpass to enable pedestrian access from one side of Route 9 to the other. This easily accessible land is a prime location for a community park.
On October 15, 2010, the city was awarded a $80,000 DOH Recreational Trails Grant to plan, design and construct trailhead facilities, parking, pedestrian bridge and trail network that will meander through this public park. The first phase of the project, which is currently underway, will be to establish the park boundaries and assess the existing environment to determine if there are unique and desirable plant and animal species that should be protected.
The City of Ranson emphasizes the importance of preserving the valuable natural resources of Flowing Springs while enabling the enjoyment of its inherent beauty. The Master Naturalist Chapter of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society has expressed an interest in helping to assess the natural features and species in the park and has been granted a $25,000 grant from Toyota as part of the Together Green Program to develop a master plan for the park which will balance conservation with recreation.
The next phase of the project will be to design a trailhead and trail network with potential wildlife viewing areas and interpretive sign locations that are compatible with the natural terrain and mindful of any sensitive species identified in the first phase. The vision for the trail network is a main trail that is ADA accessible with trail spurs that may or may not be ADA accessible based on limitations imposed by the natural setting or terrain. Part of the main trail would include a pedestrian bridge over Flowing Springs Run to connect the eastern and western portions of the park.
The City of Ranson will contract a licensed professional (i.e., Landscape Architect, Engineer or other appropriate professional) to design the parking area and trail network suitable for walking / jogging, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and cross-country skiing.
The licensed professional will prepare construction plans and specifications for approval by the West Virginia Division of Highways. Upon approval of the plans by the West Virginia Division of Highways, the project will proceed to construction of the trail. The City of Ranson will abide by all requirements and procedures imposed by the WV Division of Highways as well as all applicable State and/or Federal laws and regulations.
The City of Ranson is working with the West Virginia Division of Forestry through West Virginia Project CommuniTree to form the Eastern Panhandle Chapter among the counties of Berkeley, Morgan and Jefferson. The Flowing Springs Park will be their first project.
In addition to the West Virginia Division of Forestry, the City of Ranson is working to make this project a success with the following agencies:
- West Virginia Conservation Agency
- West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
- Potomac Valley Audubon Society
By tapping into the expertise of the West Virginia Division of Forestry, the West Virginia Conservation Agency, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, as well as other volunteer and contracted professionals, the City of Ranson is positioning itself to create a showcase project that enhances the health of our community and preserves the aesthetics of this unique and beautiful natural asset.