CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shawnee Park is one step closer to being managed by the city of Dunbar.
Members of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission voted to give Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson and Commission Vice President Allen Tackett the authority to sign a lease agreement with Dunbar at a meeting Thursday.
The lease will likely be for 20 years, and can be reviewed annually by the parks commission to monitor how Dunbar operates the park. The parks commission will retain ownership of property.
"This is a lease of the park," said Parks Commission President Anna Dailey. "It's not a deed."
The tentative plan is for the lease to be effective Feb. 1.
Tackett, who helped form the agreement, said he thinks the lease is a win for everyone involved.
"The city of Dunbar is anxious to take over the entire operation of Shawnee Park," he said. "I think they're going to do a good job with the park."
Once parks commission attorneys finalize the lease, it will need to be approved by Dunbar's city council before it can take effect.
Dunbar Mayor Terry Greenlee said later Thursday he's looking forward to the city managing the park.
"There's just a whole lot that can be done to bring more activity there," he said.
Greenlee said the city could host more events at the park and will also likely look into finding a tenant for the restaurant space in the park's clubhouse.
"It gives us a new avenue to being people into the area," Greenlee said.
The future of Shawnee Park has been on the parks commission's agenda for the last few months. Dunbar has operated the Shawnee Park pool for the last two seasons and expressed interest in taking over the whole park.
Before Dunbar, West Virginia State University operated the pool for four years.
Shawnee Park is sandwiched between Dunbar and West Virginia State. The park is separated from Dunbar's current city limits by only a few blocks of homes and businesses to the east, and to the west, West Virginia State is also largely separated from the park by just a few blocks of homes.