CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Patrons to Shawnee Park in Institute should know by January whether or not the park will be managed by the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, the city of Dunbar, West Virginia State University or some combination of all three.
The parks commission discussed the issue with Dunbar Mayor Terry Greenlee and West Virginia State University Vice President for Business and Finance Melvin Jones at its monthly meeting Thursday morning.
"We have the opportunity as community leaders to think about a vision for this," Parks Commission President Anna Dailey said.
Last month, the parks commission decided to begin discussions with Dunbar and West Virginia State about the future of the park.
"In years past...we've done cooperative agreements separately with both agencies," Dailey said Thursday.
Dunbar has operated the Shawnee Park pool for the last two seasons. Before that, West Virginia State 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.
Greenlee has repeatedly expressed that the city of Dunbar is interested in taking over the entire park. Several members of Dunbar's city council also attended the parks commission meeting Thursday.
"I think the city's behind me, the council's behind me on this," he said.
Greenlee said that in the case of the pool, city officials feel the arrangement has been a positive experience.
"We've done exceptionally well financially with it," he said, going on to say, "What we want to do is capitalize on our investment."
Last week, the Kanawha County Commissioners voted to give the city $12,000 for utility payments related to Dunbar's operations at Shawnee.
West Virginia State officials have also maintained their interest in the park, but not with the same vigor as Dunbar officials to date.