City gets grant for pool study

WEIRTON – The city of Weirton has received a $15,000 grant from the West Virginia Historic Preservation Office for a feasibility study at Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool on Marland Heights.

The local match was provided by the Marland Heights Community Association, the group working to save the historic pool from demolition. Due to state regulations, the community group had to have a municipal sponsor in order to secure the grant money.

The funds will be used to prepare a report on the financial feasibility of restoring and operating the circular pool, which dates to 1934. Designed by Wesley Bintz, it’s listed on the national register of historic places.

MHCA President Doug Jackson could not be reached for comment. Previously, however, he said the grant money would cover the cost of the feasibility study to determine what it would cost to rehabilitate the existing structure.

The group stepped in after the city’s park board targeted the pool for demolition, saying engineers had pegged the cost to repair the structure and make it handicap accessible at as much as $1.75 million. Rather than commit to a costly preservation plan, the board had intended to spend roughly $350,000 to demolish the pool and replace it with some other recreational facility. That plan is on hold pending the results of the study and the group’s success in raising money to preserve the structure.

The grant was one of eight planning grants totaling $107,600 that were awarded Tuesday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. He also announced second-round development grant awards for nine other projects totaling $228,479.