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Jefferson County Parks & Recreation requests input on environmental assessment

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Feb 26, 2021

This is a preliminary rendering of the proposed expansion of Moulton Park, indicating how the property could be used. Courtesy photo

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — The Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Department is seeking public input on a draft environmental assessment, in conjunction with a grant request for land purchase.

The park board, at its regular meeting last week, discussed the possible expansion of Moulton Park, which is located along the Shenandoah River near Millville. The park board has been working on a potential purchase of an additional 84 acres, including some waterfront property adjacent to the currently owned park and acreage across the road from the river.

The draft environmental assessment is available for public comment, as part of a move to secure grant funding should the park system move ahead with the land purchase. The proposal is open for written comment through March 15. An opportunity will also be available for public comment during the park board’s next meeting on March 17.

The potential expansion of the park would extend Moulton Park through the purchase of Riverside Farm. The land, offered for sale by its current owners, would be used as recreational land and secured from additional development through conservation easements. The land would potentially offer additional parking for Moulton Park river activities, camping and trail sites, future event and educational sites and forest and grassland areas. The potential recreational development is yet to be determined in full.

The JCPR department is seeking a grant through the Land and Water Conservancy Fund to assist with the potential purchase, as well as planning to use impact fees that are allocated specifically for land purchase.

“This is a great opportunity to expand,” said JCPR Director Jennifer Myers. “Moulton Park is definitely our most used park, especially in the warm weather months.”

Additional potential partners to be involved in planning the park would be the Department of Natural Resource, with whom the JCPR has worked in the past to secure boat ramp access to the Shenandoah River.

The parks staff will also work with the state’s Historic Preservation Office, because archaeological resources have been located within the proposed project area, as well as several within a one-mile radius of the property.

While the purchase of the property is not confirmed, the park staff wants to secure grant funding to ensure there are resources in place should the move be made to cover the cost of the property.

The purchase of the property is in line with the park system’s master plan for expansion.

“It is difficult to find riverfront property,” Myers said at the board meeting.

Written comments on the draft assessment can be sent to jmyers@jcprc.org. The proposal can be found at www.jeffersoncountywv.org, as well as on the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Facebook page.