Board looks to draw customers to Starvaggi park, pool

WEIGEL HONORED — During Thursday’s meeting of the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation, board members and city officials honored Terry Weigel, left, the outgoing parks director who is retiring Sept. 30. The city administration presented Weigel with a watch in recognition of his 28 years of employment, while the park board presented him with gift certificates for local restaurants. Weigel is pictured with Ed Bowman, park board chair. -- Craig Howell

WEIGEL HONORED — During Thursday’s meeting of the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation, board members and city officials honored Terry Weigel, left, the outgoing parks director who is retiring Sept. 30. The city administration presented Weigel with a watch in recognition of his 28 years of employment, while the park board presented him with gift certificates for local restaurants. Weigel is pictured with Ed Bowman, park board chair. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Weirton parks officials say revenue continues to be at a loss for the city’s public swimming pool, but they are working to invest in improvement projects for the facilities at Starvaggi Memorial Park.

“This was a below-average season at Starvaggi Pool,” Parks Director Terry Weigel said at Thursday’s board meeting.

Weigel did note there were no accidents, or other incidents, at the pool during this summer, but explained weather played a big role in reduced attendance.

“I know we lost money,” Board Chair Ed Bowman said. “That’s a given on an annual basis.”

Weigel said public swimming pools, in general, are not revenue makers, explaining parks staff had surveyed pools throughout the Ohio Valley, including Follansbee, Wheeling and Toronto.

“We did not find one that broke event,” Weigel said.

Operations Director Coty Shingle updated the board on the ongoing renovations at the Starvaggi Park tennis and basketball courts, demolition of which already has begun.

“We’re moving pretty quick, and I’m glad about that,” Shingle said.

The courts will receive new pavement, along with painting and sealing, new fencing and new lights as part of the project, which was approved during a special board meeting Sept. 14.

Bowman also continued his pledge to gather sponsorships to install new benches at the park.

Programs Director Chris Krishak also suggested the possibility of a new event for next summer, promoting the idea of a “Drool at the Pool.” Krishak explained it would be held on the last day of the pool season, providing a day for residents to bring their dogs to the pool.

Bowman agreed it would be a good idea, with Board member Doug Finton saying such an event has been held in Dormont, Pa., for many years. A similar program recently was held at Tomlinson Run State Park.

In other business, the board:

• Agreed to enter into an partnership with AARP and United Healthcare for a membership discount program. The program would allow AARP members to receive 50 percent off their membership costs, in exchange for using the Millsop Community Center a minimum of four times each month.

• The board also recognized Weigel’s years of service. Weigel, who has held several positions with the city during his 28-year career, will be retiring Sept. 30. The board agreed to name Shingle as the acting parks director, until a permanent hire is made.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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