Park board OKs project to reduce energy usage

WEIRTON – The Weirton Park Board voted Thursday morning to move forward with Honeywell’s proposed plan to update lighting, heating and steam fixtures at the Millsop Community Center as part of a larger energy initiative involving work on several municipal facilities.

Ward 7 Councilman and Park Board Executive Director Terry Weigel was present at the Honeywell city council workshop held Wednesday and explained the topic to the Park Board Thursday.

Under the proposed contract the community center would get a comprehensive lighting retrofit, a dedicated pool heating system in the filter room, a separate domestic hot water system and a downsized steam boiler for better efficiency.

Members who have been to the community center recently may have noticed a lack of hot water and steam due to equipment breakdowns, Weigel said. This contract would resolve current problems and avoid otherwise inevitable equipment failures within the outdated infrastructure.

“The hot water system is something we have to address, period,” Weigel said. “We have two hot water tanks. One is down and out, and the other one is almost 60 years old. If it goes out we have nothing.”

The cost of the Park Board’s portion of the project is estimated at $668,824. However, according to Honeywell representatives, energy and operational savings should be enough to cover the cost over the course of the 15-year loan term, making it budget neutral. Honeywell will guarantee at least $32,000 in energy and operational savings and monitor energy expenditure for the 15 years.

Board members Mike Adams and Ed Bowman were not in attendance, but Ted Dragisich, Doug Finton, William Curenton, Deb Witkowski and Ward 1 Councilman Ron Jones all voted to approve the motion after Weigel expressed support for it.

A resolution detailing the broader $2.2 million contract will be presented at the next city council meeting on Dec. 9, and representatives from Honeywell will be there to answer questions from council members.

Membership at Millsop Community Center reportedly is up from last year, and the wellness program with ArcelorMittal is bringing in new members. According to Program Director Kevin Elias, the ArcelorMittal wellness program has signed up approximately 225 employees so far with an average of 15 to 30 of them using the facilities each day.

In other business, Iris Himmelrick of the Marland Heights Community Association updated the board on efforts to revive the Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool. The MHCA met with architects from the Wheeling-based Heritage Architectural Associates Nov. 14 and reviewed the findings of their feasibility study.

“They’re very positive about the structural integrity, and they feel that this project is do-able,” Himmelrick said.

The association expects more feedback in the next few weeks from Heritage Associates.

The board also voted to sign on with the city’s new insurance policies, which were approved at the last city council meeting and involve a 5 percent increase in premiums overall.

(Dalrymple can be contacted at