Editor's note: This is the 241st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Kiwanivista Park on U.S. 60 at Ona was once a popular roadside park. It provided a great setting for a Sunday picnic, and folks making what was then a long drive between Huntington and Charleston sometimes stopped there to get out of the car to stretch their legs a bit.
But that was before construction of Interstate 64 diverted traffic from U.S. 60 and reduced the trip between Huntington and Charleston to only an hour or so. Over time the once busy park went mostly unused - other than by the teenagers who liked to hang out there after dark.
The Cabell County Commission acquired the 86 acres of what became Kiwanivista Park in 1947 and contracted with the Kiwanis Club of Huntington, which developed a half dozen or so acres along U.S. 60 into a roadside park. The majority of the parcel remained an undeveloped wooded hillside.
Noting that the park property was little used, the county commission indicated it might sell it. It then received a number of proposals from would-be buyers. Sorting through the proposals, the commission decided the best course would be to put the property up for public auction.
Some people suggested that rather than selling Kiwanivista, the county should develop it into a full-scale recreational facility. The commissioners responded that such an ambitious undertaking would require millions of dollars - money it didn't have.
In offering the park property for sale, the commission stipulated that part of the parcel be used for commercial or industrial purposes and the remaining acreage be reserved for residential use.
In 2003, the commission sold Kiwanivista to American Trust of West Palm Beach, Florida, after the real-estate holding company submitted a high bid of $385,000 for the parcel.