Security cameras requested for Panhandle Rail Trail

WEIRTON – Panhandle Rail Trail users asked the city’s park board Thursday to consider installing security cameras.

One resident said her car had been vandalized while parked at the Colliers access area, “and I understand it’s not the only car that’s been broken into.” She also complained of ATV and dirt bike riders using the trail, “doing wheelies to tear it up.”

“Last summer, two people on a motorcycle came down the middle of the trail,” she said, adding that on one occasion when she and her husband were walking their dog, she used her cell phone to photograph an ATV operator. That man, visibly upset, approached them when they returned to their car, she said.

“Sometimes parents are with their kids,” she added. “It’s not just young kids doing it, it’s parents who should know better.”

Another woman complained about the condition of the Port-a-Johns, saying they’d been a target of vandals in the past.

Both women, however, praised trail volunteers for their efforts to develop and maintain it.

“We can’t say enough good things about Dave Cline and what he’s been doing,” they said.

Cline said motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail and violators can be prosecuted and their vehicle – be it an ATV, dirt bike or motorcycle – confiscated pending trial. He also suggested trail users seeing improper behavior take pictures to document it

“The trail is probably the most used recreation facility in the area,” board member Ed Bowman said, adding that it’s the “first time I’ve heard about these problems.”

In other action, city officials refused to sign off on beer sales at an after-hours boxing show that had been planned for Millsop Community Center at the end of the month.

The board had given Angelo Magnone permission to stage the event at the center contingent on receipt of a signed lease and paid rental fees, but told him he’d have to get the city’s blessings to sell beer at the upcoming event.

During the meeting, Bowman told Magnone he’d talked to Mayor George Kondik who made it clear he would not sign the papers himself, deferring to Police Chief Bruce Marshall’s judgment on the matter. Bowman told Magnone the chief, too, was reluctant to sign the papers, in part because he didn’t believe the four off-duty officers he’d proposed for crowd control were enough.

Magnone initially approached the park board in November, but the December meeting was canceled at the last minute and he hadn’t been able to meet with them since. Pressed for time, he said he’d proceeded to recruit fighters, purchase liability insurance to protect himself and the city and sell tables for the event, which would begin at 8 p.m., after the center had closed.

“Nobody brought it to my attention that I might not be able to have it until now,” he’d told the board during Thursday’s meeting. “It’s 10 days before the set date, and now I’m being told it’s doubtful I can have it because the city is worried about liabilities. If I’d had any idea there was a problem, I would have had a backup. Now I have fighters contracted to come here, they’ve signed contracts. If I have to cancel, there’s no backup plan.”

Magnone had told the board he’d be willing to pay for a bigger police presence, if that’s what was needed to secure the temporary beer license, and had also offered to donate the profits from the beer sales to a charity of their choosing.

But when contacted Friday morning, Kondik said the chief had nixed any beer sales at the event, “and I agreed with him and stand by his decision.”

“As of yesterday at 4 p.m., the promoters were debating whether they were going to do (the event) or not,” Kondik said. “The final decision will be theirs … they may look for another venue.”