By Bob Weaver

A bitter dispute has erupted over the management of the Upper West Fork Park, between former board members who reportedly resigned and new board members who are attempting to re-group the facility.

About 40 citizens, including vested persons, attended a public hearing Monday before the Calhoun Commission.

Commission President Kevin Helmick told the group that the commission has no oversight or responsibility over the park.

At least one person, Christine Keen, who was a member of the former board, said she had not resigned, saying "We'll be back in there...I know more about the park than these people."

Newly appointed secretary Anita West disputed Keen's assertion, saying she thew the check book down and quit, then going to the bank and had her name removed from the account. She reportedly indicated on Facebook that she was no longer associated.

West said the park is back in the black following some serious flooding to the property, with a $4,000 emergency grant obtained from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation supported by the Calhoun Commission, and a $1,400 fundraiser which was used to pay off money on a two year old lawnmower.

"We apologize to community groups that have used the park building, getting keys to them," she said.

Beth Harris was angry over a rule change that disallows small children on the dance floor, with current officers saying it was a safety issue for old people and the children, citing one elderly dancer being involved in a fall.

Harris said she had called TV stations, CPS and hired a lawyer regarding the matter, asking that all board members resign.

"I will go to court and take that sign and stick it...You cannot get along with these high flutin' people...They pulled my little boy off the floor," Harris said.

"I'd whip somebodies ass over the kids," said Harris, while another woman exclaimed "It's not who who know but who you blow."

Cora Waggoner said not allowing small children on the dance floor was looking out for their safety.

Marie King said the newest rule sign was placed in good faith. "We trying to keep it open," while others indicated the situation could likely close it down.

James Shields, current president, asked that everyone handle this as adults, and run the park peacefully.

Arlena Shields said, "I think it is a shame it is falling apart."

Commissioner Hicks asked the group to demonstrate their concern, they need to come together, while commissioner Westfall reminded the group that the commission has no authority over the issue.

Calhoun Sheriff Jeff Starcher said, "The park has been a gem of this county. We want everyone to get along and keep it going."

At the close of the meeting, Commissioner Helmick said, "I really believe you want what is best for your community."

The park has provided vital services to the community for about 40 years.

The park board was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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