FOLLANSBEE - A proposal for a fountain monument honoring local veterans was among issues centered around Follansbee Park faced by City Council on Monday.
Tony Paesano, president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce and former mayor, proposed a monument that would consist of a 5-foot-tall urn made of stacked stone, surrounded by a 2-foot high estate wall with a radius of about 6 feet.
Within the urn would be a recirculating fountain, and the water would fall into a small pond of river stones at its base. A plaque would bear a message paying tribute to all veterans, and the monument could be lit at night, he said.
Paesano noted many Follansbee veterans have served in the military from World War I to the present.
"This will be for all veterans who served in all wars, especially those who were killed in action and paid the ultimate sacrifice," he said.
He suggested the fountain could be built near the Follansbee Lions Shelter. A large tic-tac-toe game that is part of the park's playground equipment could be relocated to accommodate the addition.
The park has a monument to veterans near that area but the stone structure was mistaken by many children for a play structure who climbed on it, and in recent years flowers and a short fence were added at its base to deter the children.
Paesano asked council to consider splitting the estimated $9,000 cost for the monument with the chamber and 20th Century Woman's Club, who plan to hold a fundraiser for the project.
Mary Schwertfeger, club president, said it and other clubs in the West Virginia General Federation of Women's Clubs have made providing fountains for state parks a state project. She said when she told Paesano about the effort, he suggested the club and chamber pursue a fountain for the city park.
Second Ward Councilman Tom DiBattista thanked Paesano for suggesting the project. He noted council had been asked to contribute to the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park to be built at Brooke Hills Park but didn't grant the request because it involved spending city funds outside the city, which they were advised was illegal.
Mayor David Velegol Jr. said several city officials plan to support the Brooke County project by sponsoring granite pavers for the site.
DiBattista noted he'd suggested refurbishing the fountain at the veterans monument outside the Follansbee American Legion Post but said he'd support a new monument at the park.
Other council members voiced support also. But the matter was tabled for the next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday because council's first meeting of the month is designated as a work meeting only.
In related business, Cindy Petri of Fusion Fitness asked council to consider renting the park's swimming pool to her for aqua Zumba classes that would be held later in the day.
Petri said she conducted the classes there last year before opening her business and would like to offer the classes as part of her customers' monthly passes. Others could participate for a small fee, she said. She said she would schedule the classes around swim meets held by the Follansbee Swim League and could provide a certified lifeguard who would serve on a volunteer basis.
City Attorney Michael Gaudio said the city should be consistent in handling such requests and adopt a policy for pool rentals if it doesn't have one.
City Manager John DeStefano said the city charges $50 per hour for nonprofit groups to use the pool and $65 per hour to others.
A number of council members supported charging Petri the $65 hourly rental fee.
In other park business, DeStefano announced several free concerts and movies have been scheduled for the park.
Performers for the concerts will appear at the park's gazebo, and the films will be shown on a portable screen purchased by council last year. They are funded by the city, through the city police department's neighborhood crimewatch program and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The schedule includes music by Hank Vincent and Stone Street Station at 2 p.m. and Hot Pursuit at 5 p.m., both on June 3; music by Youth Gone Wild at 5 p.m. June 17; the movie "A Turtle's Tale" at 8:30 p.m. June 23; the movie "Hugo" at 8:30 p.m. July 21; music by Twice as Nice at 5 p.m. July 29; music by Legend at 5 p.m. Aug. 5; and the movie "Soul Surfer" at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 18.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Iris Ferrell said some residents have asked for an older movie to be shown.