CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK - Being ousted from their building by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal hasn't stopped local residents and tourists from as far away as Oklahoma from enjoying Pickin' in the Park at Chief Logan State Park.
Hundreds of people, young and old alike, sat, stood or danced on Thursday afternoon as local musicians gathered onstage or under a shade tree to play bluegrass and gospel music.
Pickin' in the Park, the only program of its kind in West Virginia, brings together musicians twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays year round, to practice their talents with other musicians and to allow area residents to enjoy their jamming sessions.
Recently, Pickin' in the Park was prohibited from gathering in the renovated stables at the park by the fire marshal due not being up to fire codes for a public-gathering building. According to Park Ranger Bruce Collinsworth, the program had grown so much that the Department of Natural Resources decided the Pickin' in the Park program needed a contract on the building.
"When they asked for use of the building, they were told that the building was a stable and that if anyone wanted to use the building as a stable they would have first priority on it," Collinsworth said.
To keep the program from being ousted by such a business, a contract was needed between the Department of Natural Resources and officials for Pickin' in the Park. That contract necessitated the need for a building inspection which in turn revealed several items which didn't meet state fire codes. Since the inspection on June 30, guests at the program have been gathering outside to enjoy their favorite music.
But the cry from local residents loyal to the program has been heard and several state and local officials, including Raamie Barker from W.Va. Senator Earl Ray Tomblin's office, Danny Godby from the Logan County Commission, Rocky Adkins from the Logan County Improvement Office and Park Ranger Bruce Collinsworth of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), met Thursday evening with Pickin' in the Park organizer George Frye to see what they could do to get the program back inside and out of the elements.
"I spoke with the guy from the fire marshal's office this afternoon and he will have a report ready for me Monday," Adkins said. "That will let us know what has to be done to bring it back into use. The commissioners have already had me to talk to a certified electrician and to bring him down to look at the building. But he needed the report so he would know what to come and look for. That's just the electrical side of it