By Allen Hamrick
There are times when circumstances will meet fate and the effect can be a great opportunity for an individual to make great changes in a community. A need for equipment parts started a series of events in motion that only fate knew how it would turn out. Fran King, along with Danny McCoy, had taken a trip to South Charleston to purchase some parts at Case Equipment. While waiting, she picked up a brochure explaining an opportunity for a grant through the main office of Case Equipment in Wisconsin. Figuring with nothing to lose and everything to gain, and being one of those people that is always looking for ways to better their community, Fran filled it out and sent it on its way. The grant is called Dire States. The Dire States Grant began in 2013 as a means to help communities with infrastructure issues that plague many neighborhoods across this great land. If a community has a problem that requires heavy equipment to get a job done, then Case has the answer and that answer comes in the form of a $25,000 equipment rental grant. All the entries are carefully gone over, discussed, and chosen as finalists. So, a couple of phone calls, a question and answer meeting with Case program directors and Clay County was chosen as the recipient for the 2021 Dire States Grant.
Jessica Klein, Marketing Communications Manager for Case Equipment, gave Fran King the call she had been waiting on. Clay County sustained a lot of damage during the floods of 2016, and this grant would help repair some of those areas and help prevent future flooding issues. One of the areas chosen as a sight for a much needed face lift was Mary Chilton Roadside Park, AKA Spread Park. The park has long been a place where families have met, concerts and events have taken place, or somewhere you can just pull off and take a much needed break with the therapeutic sounds of the Elk River water flowing in the back ground. This has been the place where kids were taught to fish and swim and a place where many thousands of scenic photos have been taken. From weddings to senior photo shoots, picnicking to reunions, and a good river launch for kayaks made the park a go to place for people to hang out and relax. However, floods and erosion have wreaked havoc on the lower sections of the park and washed out most of its beauty and easy access to the river. With the grant and the help of some local equipment operators and laborers, the park is returning to its original condition and will soon be a place where you can once again enjoy all it has to offer. They will also be making an easier access to put in your kayaks.
Other projects will also be underway as well; they will also be resurfacing the wilderness trail at Maysel Park. This is another resource in this county that is underused with its great walking trail that provides great intensity as well as a Frisbee Golf nine hole course. The trail has needed some TLC for a while now and will soon get it. This county has a lot to offer, and now, thanks to Case Equipment, what it has to offer can be upgraded. Thanks go out to Eddie Rowan and Jimmy Cook from Case Equipment in South Charleston for the equipment and their time and to Jessica Klein and company from Case Equipment in Wisconsin who came and not only chose Clay for the grant but also got their hands dirty helping paint and do clean up. Many folks were involved and still are like Carol’s Restaurant for providing Case with some food and John Morris for some good old Clay County foot stomping mountain music for the promotional videos. Fran King, a Clay County Commissioner, saw a way to better our county, took the ball and ran with it. Many thanks to her and her band of laborers and equipment operators who are making this county a better place to live one bucket at a time.