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Sam Michael’s Park officials hear concept plan

By Staff | Dec 19, 2018

The Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission voted to approve this updated concept plan for Sam Michael's Park at a special board meeting on Dec. 12. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

HARPERS FERRY — A long-needed update to the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation concept plan for Sam Michael’s Park was approved on Dec. 12 at a special meeting of the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The board members were presented with a final concept plan designed by Baker & Associates and shared by Tony Truax.

Truax offered a Powerpoint presentation to board members, highlighting the goal of the overall concept plan to “design and implement a grand vision for Sam Michael’s Park that elevates the park to a true county scale and the premier park facility for Jefferson County.”

The park, located on Job Corps Road, is centrally located in the county and is home to the Jefferson County Community Center, which houses park staff offices. Also located at the 138-acre park are athletic fields, six-to-eight miles of trails, a Veteran’s Memorial shelter and playground, an additional picnic shelter and playground area, the county’s dog park, The Columns event venue and the newly constructed amphitheater that will afford concerts and other performances starting this spring. In addition, a disc golf course has recently been added to the park’s amenities.

“There was a preliminary plan developed in 2000,” explained Truax. “However, the updated plan was necessary to address changes in the scope of the park’s uses.”

“The addition of the community center in 2006 was originally on the 2000 plan, but not in its current location,” said Parks Director Jennifer Myers. “We also expanded to include venues like The Columns which ties the park to the historic owners of the property.”

Truax shared proposed phases recommended by Baker & Associates for the remainder of the park’s build-out which includes plans to repurpose the current maintenance facility into a “barn” venue for use in conjunction with The Columns. While this venue received top priority from Baker & Associates, a state grant awarded for the amphitheater project saw that venue transform the central event field at the park.

Additional proposals by Baker & Associates include providing natural buffering along the boundaries of the park to offer barriers for neighboring developments.

In addition, Truax said the company recommends the investment of solar panels on the proposed barn project to offer cost savings as well as an environmentally friendly resource.

The park will continue to abound with natural vegetation, with many areas providing habitats for wildlife and birds.

According to Myers, the amphitheater construction is the latest capital improvement to the park which will see a dedication and fist event scheduled in early May of 2019. The board will begin planning for the next phases of the concept plan completion as funding allows.