Steps to improve walking trail

Beth Sergent

November 20, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — Walking around in circles is encouraged at Krodel Park though the walking path needs a bit of updating and maintenance.

At the most recent meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, Attorney Stephen Littlepage spoke about needed improvements to the walking path and a funding interest to make those happen from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, of which Littlepage administers.

“We (at the Claflin Foundation) want to bring the walking trail into the 21st Century,” Littlepage told council.

Littlepage explained a bit about the Claflins, saying Louise was a native of New Haven and Robert moved there from Massachusetts as a young man to begin a long-time career with Vanadium Corporation, also known as Foote Mineral Company. He was educated in the Northeastern University chemist program and was a financial contributor as an alumnus.

Without children of their own, the couple was said to be immersed in community and church activities – they attended New Haven Church of God. They focused on personal health and wellness, enjoyed reading and strongly believed in academic achievement in the education setting and realized the betterment of self in the classroom of life. The couple was also devoted to the care of stray animals in the community by providing food, companionship and sometimes, shelter to cats and dogs. Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley, who was also at the city council meeting, reported the county’s positive relationship with the Claflin Foundation and the grants which had helped make improvements to the Mason County Animal Shelter and helped the Mason County Sheriff’s Department make equipment purchases.

Littlepage described the foundation’s desire to help improve the walking trail as as “considerable commitment,” adding he wasn’t sure about the cost though he anticipated it could range anywhere from $50-$200k depending on what the city wanted done. Littlepage also stressed the Claflin foundation wasn’t interested in telling the city how to improve the trail and suggested the plan for those improvements come from a committee dedicated to the project.

Councilman Bob Rulen then spoke up and said he had verbal commitments from several in the county to help define a plan for upgrades to the walking trail. Council then voted to support this committee with Rulen leading it - Rulen abstained from the vote.

Littlepage said the Claflin Foundation would be interested in naming rights for the trail though if that wasn’t possible, it wouldn’t be a “deal breaker” for financial assistance. Mayor Brian Billings said he would consult with the city attorney concerning any legalities over naming rights and if that was a possibility.