Area support growing to open Belleview Pool

STEUBENVILLE – City Council is prepared to create a Belleview Pool fund in response to growing community and business support to raise money to open the pool this summer.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins introduced legislation Tuesday night to create a fund that will be dedicated to future pool operations.

And Councilman at large Kenny Davis announced a community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 25 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center to discuss fundraising plans and ideas for operating the pool in June, July and August.

City officials had announced in January the pool would remain closed this year because of the city’s budget issues. But Davis said earlier this month he would work to raise $40,000 that would allow the pool to operate for three months.

“I would like to announce tonight we have an agreement with Geary Teramana and TEAM Automotive who are going to donate a new car for a drawing. We have five weeks to print 5,000 tickets and sell them for $10 each, pay off the dealer cost of the car and raise about $30,000 for the pool,” stated Davis.

And City Manager Cathy Davison told council members she met with Tom Timmons and H. Lee Kinney of the Pugliese Foundation Tuesday, “who indicated they are interested to matching dollar for dollar all donations up to $20,000.”

Davsion said Katie Hess and Asantewa Anyalowile of the LaBelle Neighbors Who Care organization plan to contact the PNC Foundation asking for financial support. But Davison also urged caution and said there are still issues to resolve with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2015.

“The union has indicated we will be in violation of their contract. Law Director Gary Repella, our labor attorney Rob D’Anniballe and I will be meeting with the union leadership to try to work through the issues,” said Davison.

She added a second issue for discussion with the union will be the summer food program operated by seasonal workers through the city parks and recreation department.

“Traditionally we serve a number of meals every day throughout the city. But that requires hiring seasonal workers and again the union has indicated that will violate their contract,” added Davison.

“I am willing to discuss the issues with the union leaders. I have been a card-carrying union member for 32 years. This is not a union issue, this is a children issue,” said Davis.

“We have two issues as we work toward opening the pool this summer. The first is the rumors the pool will be free to the public. It will not be free. The fee structure will probably remain the same as we start building up the funds for next year and beyond. We also have to get rid of the slide at the pool. It is not safe. Maybe we can get some in-kind services to tear the slide down and sell it for scrap,” said Davis.

“I understand we all pay taxes for city services. Unfortunately our tax base has gone down. So we need to do this as a community. And I have already heard from Hess Energy, who has offered to donate seed money for a community event to raise money,” noted Davis.

Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul suggested hiring a part-time recreation director to help manage the pool.

“We need someone there to monitor the pool and the lifeguards. This initial campaign is to open the pool this year but I won’t stop there. We need to raise unbudgeted money for the pool fund. We need to keep the pool open in the future,” said Paul.

“We can put together a pool committee and have different organizations working together and do this on an annual basis until the city sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Our community has shrunk in size but we need to stop the bleeding,” said Davis.

Mayor Domenick Mucci commended Davis and the council members for working to open the pool.

“There is no doubt our citizens want recreation and there is no doubt our community will support recreation. But I also have several concerns. We will need an operational plan before the pool is open. There is a small window of opportunity. But I assure you that you have the full support of the mayor’s office,” stated Mucci.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman passed out a signup sheet for volunteers to say what they are willing to do for the pool fundraiser.

In other business Tuesday night, council held a public hearing before voting unanimously to rehire former Council Clerk Pam Orlando on a part-time basis.

“I would like to thank Shirley DiCarlantonio and Cathy Kalish for stepping in while Pam was gone and keeping everything moving forward. And welcome back Pam,” 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins said.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf requested a service committee meeting be held at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday with Streets and Sanitation Superintendent Bob Baird and Code Enforcement Officer Shawn Scott to discuss garbage pickup and code enforcement issues.