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Funding sought for athletic complex

Money needed to repair Walnut Street slip

October 2, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

FOLLANSBEE - Efforts to build an athletic complex at Follansbee's north end and to correct a slip along Walnut Street will depend on obtaining additional funds, city officials said Monday.

State Sens. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, and Orphy Klempa, D-Wheeling, were on hand to present confirmation of two grants: one, in the amount of $21,150 for the athletic complex and the other, for $3,000, to the Brooke-Hancock-Ohio-Marshall Retired Senior and Volunteer Program.

City Council has allocated $100,000 for the complex, which they hope to build on 30 acres above the former Koppers truck terminal and south of Highland Hills and donated to the city by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.

But the city still needs funds to clear and level the wooded area, said City Manager John DeStefano.

City officials have discussed acquiring the cleared area that lays before it, which would cost less to develop. But the land is owned by RG Steel, which is in bankruptcy court.

Plans call for the city's youth baseball and football fields to be relocated to the site. The leagues' current fields are on part of property purchased by the city from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel for the purpose of marketing it for economic development.

Architects with Penoni and Associates of Pittsburgh also have proposed two possible designs for a building at the site.

Both include a 3,500 square foot recreation center that includes basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, rooms for weight lifting and aerobics, a concession stand and restrooms; and outside, fields for football, baseball and soccer and a 100-space parking lot.

In other business, DeStefano told council he's asked the state Senators for help in securing funds to repair a slip along about 80 feet of Lower Walnut Street.

The slip was spurred by heavy rain wrought by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Part of the street was repaired through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but additional slipping that has occurred since isn't covered by the federal agency, DeStefano said.

The slip poses a hazard not only to residents who travel the street but also to those who live below it on Virginia Avenue Extension because the land is shifting into their property, officials said.

DeStefano said the cost to secure the road with steel pilings and concrete lagging has been estimated at about $290,000.

Because Monday's meeting was a work session, council took no action on the matter but may consider it at its next regular meeting.

The meeting has been moved to Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. because its regular meeting date, Oct. 8, is Columbus Day.

DeStefano said council will be asked then to approve the city's fall cleanup, tentatively set for Oct. 22-27, and Halloween trick or treat hours.

Council also heard from resident Pam Ewusiak, who said the city's steps need cleaning and offered to help with them. She added a gully atop the Rose Alley steps has been filled with litter.

Steve Meca, the city's public works director, said his crews can hose, weed and clean up the steps.

(Scott can be contacted at

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