Richwood pocket park represents sunny days ahead

RICHWOOD — It was almost fitting that the dedication of a pocket park in Richwood that boasts solar panels took place Saturday amid constant, moderate rain, said West Virginia State University Extension Agent Ray Moeller.
It was constructed on prime downtown real estate where a fire left the historic district with a burned-out lot.
The project has defied odds and is a "tangible statement of hope for a community in distress.
The park features a sun dial, and anyone standing at its edge becomes the shadow caster.
The dial is made from porous pavement, which allows rain and ground water to enter the soil below and is return to natural use for vegetation planted there through a French drain system.
The park features native flowers, has signs from recycled plastic and is designed to reduce storm water pollution in the Cherry River to the tune of 76,176 gallons per year.
The idea got started at the 2014 Create West Virginia conference, was supported by the local community, was designed by West Virginia landscape architect Todd Schoolcraft, and solar panels are supported by trellis made from native white oak milled locally at Laurel Creek Hardwood.
And the solar panels return energy to the grid through net-metering, offsetting the city’s electric bill.
"The Helios Park project turned a previous eyesore, via considerable hard work and generosity, into an attractive community asset," he explained.
Richwood is leading by example with Helios Park, as this project rivals sustainable pocket parks from across the nation and world."

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