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Lexi Browning/For The Herald-Dispatch Mayor Chris Tatum is photographed in his office on Tuesday, May. 28 in Barboursville, W.Va.

The community garden isn't the only the only thing growing in Barboursville. A drive around the village and surrounding areas shows a community growing with retail stores and restaurant choices.

Tanyard Station is the newest development being put together in Barboursville, with more stores coming on the horizon.

Mayor Chris Tatum is excited about the figurative and literal changes happening in Barboursville.

"Our growth, I think, is one of the things that has literally changed the landscape in the last few years," Tatum said. "Tanyard Station, the area around Route 60, has seen increased business traffic. We've seen increased business traffic in the downtown area with Main Street on Central opening and that's spawned some other offshoots through there."

Tatum said business owners have had good things to say about the services Barboursville provides like police, public works and the fire department.

Tatum said there are studies and plans in place to offer even more things to do at Barboursville Community Park.

"We've been doing a study on how to figure out what's the best way to include equestrian traffic on the trail system," Tatum said. "It's become a bit of a danger for runners and bikers, who are the majority users of that park. And there's a small contingent that ride horses out there. But the park board is working a way to not exclude anyone."

But until a plan is in place, unfortunately, the park board has taken equestrian traffic off the trail system because of the dangers.

Recreation has been a focus for Tatum. There are plans for a swimming pool to be put in next to the splash park. There are two 18-hole disc golf courses at the park. But the big plan is to invest in the soccer fields.

The soccer fields draw teams from all across the region for tournaments.

"We really want to have something that's multi-use," Tatum said. "That's been talked about forever. Even since I was a kid, it's been talked about. But now, we kind of see some light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and I think we've got an opportunity to do something in the next year or two, that would really be a benefit for us."

Tatum shows a blueprint for an indoor, multi-use athletic complex with basketball courts, soccer field, and softball, little league and T-ball practice diamonds. It's all thanks to the soccer fields currently in place.

"We've invested a lot of money in our soccer complex. But when weather is an issue, then it pushes the tournament longer. And these teams and their parents and coaches are all coming for a finite period of time. So when it gets extended, they are asking for extra time with work and things like that. So we're looking at some turf fields, we're looking at some indoor facilities that would accommodate multiple sports."

The Guyandotte River is also playing a bigger role for recreational activities in Barboursville. Folks into kayaking and canoeing can enjoy a slow float or paddle down the river from the bridge leading to the soccer fields to below General McComas Bridge. Both spots have places in which it is easy to load and unload a kayak or canoe into the water. The bridge at the soccer complex has a primitive launch, while a concrete ramp is under the McComas Bridge. Boaters have been happy with the changes.

"The feedback's been excellent," Tatum said. "It can be a hassle when the river gets up to clean the sand off the ramps, but it's not anything we're not happy to take care of, because it does benefit so many people."

There are plans to eventually replace the primitive launch with one more like the concrete one.

"The float is about an hour. But if you're doing some fishing, and just kind of taking it easy, you can turn it into a longer flow. But the feedback's been great. You know, I think everyone's looking for different things to do. And kayaking seems to be one thing that's kind of really hit home for a lot of people around here."

On this day there was something for everyone to do in Barboursville.

"I think we've kind of established ourselves as a retail and entertainment hub and for a lot of different things that people can do," Tatum said.


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