Rec board discusses future

STEUBENVILLE – City officials and members of the parks and recreation board continued to look at options to keep the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center open this year, including soliciting volunteers and financial donations.

After reviewing a cost analysis provided by City Manager Cathy Davison, board member Jim Emmerling said his goal is to get the daily cost of operating the recreation center “down to $150 to $200.”

“I could see businesses and private individuals agreeing to sponsor the center a couple days a week. That would have a major positive impact on our community. It will take people to bring this to a positive resolution,” said Emmerling.

“We have tentatively set up a meeting for Tuesday with Steubenville Community Inc. to discuss their organization volunteering at the center. I will be at the meeting along with Recreation Board President Sandi Rue and 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins,” announced Davison.

Davison said a utility collection office clerk will be moving to the MLK Center .

“She will work with the two recreation maintenance workers and a police officer who is currently on light duty. She will also provide an adult female presence at the center. And she will be taking reservations for recreation facilities,” explained Davison.

“Effective March 1, the two recreation maintenance workers will return to prepping the ball fields and cutting grass but we will still have the clerk and any light duty city employees at the center. And we are in talks with Eastern Gateway Community College and Franciscan University of Steubenville regarding interns working at the center,” Davison continued.

“Our goal is to keep the doors open, the recreation programs continuing and providing children a comfortable place to be. I wish we could bring the recreation aides who were laid off back to the center. They had an emotional attachment to that center and to the kids,” noted Councilman at large Kenny Davis.

Davison told board members a “pitting problem” at the Belleview Park tennis courts will be addressed in May.

“Grae-Con will repair the court surface, and the city and Franciscan University have agreed to contribute $10,000 toward the color coating and striping of the courts,” said Davison.

The board also discussed a $1,400 unpaid usage fee still owed the city from Steubenville Little League for 2012.

“I suggest you require them to pay the 2012 bill and to pay the 2013 fee in advance because we go through this every year,” said Perkins.

Former Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall said he will offer assistance while he is still available.

The board formally approved a facility request for the annual Martin Luther King Youth Celebration and Children’s Program set from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the MLK Center.

“There will be a dramatic presentation and a Martin Luther King birthday party, and it is free. This would be a morale booster for our youth,” said Davison.