POINT PLEASANT — Though Memorial Day Weekend is typically busy at Krodel Park, this year attendance was amplified. One might say, something was definitely in the water and not just the 22-acre lake.
Point Pleasant’s new splash pad opened that weekend and since then, has been a hit, according to city officials. With free admission for residents of Mason County with identification, and only $1 per person for everyone else, it’s affordable fun on anyone’s budget. City officials report heavy attendance from not only local residents but from surroundings counties. Summer hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
However, the splash pad isn’t the only new addition in recent years. The playground, which sits next to the splash pad, was totally revamped two years ago, including pieces of equipment for children of all abilities. The walking trail around the park, which had suffered from erosion is now completely repaved and a newly erected gazebo has become a favorite place to sit in the shade near the water.
There’s also new life brewing in the old concession stand on the end of the park which used to house the beach. The newly opened Yak Shak provides kayak rentals for those wishing to take a paddle around the lake. The Yak Shak came about through the efforts of local volunteers and City of Point Pleasant employees. Funding for this project was secured through grants from Try This WV & Rivers To Ridges Heritage Trail. Rentals include hourly and daily, as well as single and tandem kayak choices. Life vests are included. The Yak Shak, with its kayak rentals and light refreshments, is open Sunday – Friday, noon – 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation has also been a major donor in some of the park’s upgrades, particularly the walking trail and gazebo, as well as financing some new lighting. The walking trail upgrade alone was reported to cost over $359,000 at this year’s Mason County Chamber of Commerce Dinner and Awards Banquet when the trail was named Best Community Project. A United States Department of Transportation grant also assisted in financing this project.
The playground upgrade was estimated to cost over $160,000 and the splash pad, when the project began, was projected to cost around $70,000. For just those three projects, that’s well over a half-million dollars of investment in the last few years.
All of these efforts on various projects were funded primarily through grants, donations, endless fundraisers and the stewardship of committees consisting of volunteers and city officials. In some cases, the city was also able to appropriate funds for improvements, such as with the playground project and supplies labor for the park’s various needs.
“So much has changed in just a short time with the support of individuals, businesses and organizations,” Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings said of upgrades to the park. “Our city staff has worked diligently to make Krodel Park a showplace not for just our very own but for visitors outside of our borders.”
Billings continued: “Our walking trail, playground, splash pad, Yak Shak, campground and new gazebo have brought back the pride of the past here in our hometown. But there is more to do and we hope to bring more to Krodel Park for the enjoyment of all here and attract new visitors to this great city. Many have given support to this park in various ways and the Claflin Foundation has been a great partner and we hope to continue to partner with this great organization. Our goal and commitment to this city is to do all that we can to attract businesses, industry and provide recreational components for our citizens and to bring more visitors to our city and let them explore the many attractions that we offer in our hometown of Point Pleasant,” Billings said.
The park is still a favorite camping and fishing spot, with trout stocked twice a year by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The park, with its picnic shelters and club house is also home to Fort Randolph with its many events throughout the season.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.