An agreement allowing the Kanawha County Commission to use an installment plan to buy $2.5 million worth of artificial turf for the Shawnee Park Multi-Sport Complex also makes it possible to build a $500,000 concessions stand/press box building and stay within the project’s budget.

The new turf, purchased from Field Turf Co., through four payments of $625,000 each, will be used to surface the complex’s six soccer fields and four baseball/softball infields. Nearly one million square feet of artificial turf was bought through the arrangement, approved during a County Commission meeting on Thursday.

By avoiding a lump sum payment for the turf, the commission had enough funds on hand to pay for the two-story concessions stand/press box building, to be built in the middle of a clover-shaped alignment of the complex’s four baseball/softball fields. The building will also include restrooms and a meeting room.

In other business, the commission voted to buy the former Clendenin Middle School building for $50,000 for use as a branch of the Kanawha County Public Library. Clendenin’s former library building was destroyed in the June 2016 flood.

Last month, the Kanawha County Public Library board voted to enter lease negotiations for the former middle school building for use as a branch library and a possible senior center.

The commission wasted no time in setting the 2018 Christmas-New Year holiday schedule for county employees by giving county workers the day off on Monday, Dec. 24, as well as Christmas Day, and Monday, Dec. 31, as well as New Year’s Day.

“Why wait until state government makes up its mind about the holiday schedule a few hours before it begins?” said Commission President Kent Carper.

Citing election costs, the commission also voted to make the county’s 2018 Public Safety Levy in May cover a five-year period of funding, rather than the current four-year term.

During a public hearing at the end of Thursday’s meeting, more than 30 people from the Coal River Road area a short distance outside the St. Albans city limits voiced opposition to issuing a building permit for a new Dollar General store planned for the 8600 block of Coal River Road.

Those who spoke against the proposed 9,100-square-foot building, to be located on a 7-acre lot, cited traffic congestion, noise, and poor visibility near the entrance to the store due to the presence of a nearby hill, among reasons for denying the building permit. Petitions signed by nearly 800 residents of the area opposed to issuing the building permit were presented to the commission.

“Why would you want to build something in a place where more than half the people who live there don’t want it?” commented one foe of the store, which failed to gain the approval of the county Planning and Community Development Department last month.

While attorneys representing the store sought a decision on the building permit by Friday, the commission voted instead to act on the matter within 30 days, to make sure all other needed permits have been issued and to review public comments.

“Frankly, I’m skeptical about why you you are pushing this on this community,” said Carper, who was elected to another term as commission president during Thursday’s meeting.