City parks may be on chopping block

WEIRTON — The city may have fewer parks and playgrounds available to the public, depending on the results of a report being prepared for the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation.

During Thursday’s board meeting, officials discussed a proposal which could see the closure of some parks or playgrounds in the city.

According to the city’s website, the Park Board currently is responsible for 12 parks or playgrounds, as well as the Edwin J. Bowman Field and the Panhandle Recreation Trail.

“Starvaggi Park is the most utilized without a question,” Parks Director Coty Shingle said.

Shingle is in the process of drafting a priority list of recreation sites, based on their use, for consideration at the board’s June meeting.

The second most-used site, according to Shingle is Marland Heights Park, for which the board resumed oversight in 2018. Other sites include the Aaron Davies Memorial Playground on Murphy Avenue, the Bennett Drive Playground, the Beverly Avenue Playground, the Brookline Street Playground, the Dunbar Center Playground on Weir Avenue, the Plum Street Play Area, the Oakland Avenue Field, the Sharp Street basketball court and the Steve Dorich Memorial Playground on June Street.

There also is the Woodland Estates Playground located on Union Street, which features tennis courts, a basketball court, pavilion and a playground.

“That’s the one that started this conversation,” Shingle said, noting a suggestion the area be turned into a dog park.

Board member Bill Curenton said the Dunbar playground still sees use, even though the nearby Dunbar Recreation Center has had limited operations.

“There are still a lot of kids from the neighborhood that use it,” Curenton said.

Shingle noted some sites have stipulations attached to them, as determined by a funding source or how they were established.

Board Chair Ed Bowman, for whom the ballfield is named, suggested Shingle take the next month to review the use of each park or playground before presenting a full report for the board to consider.

“We’re going to make our decision on good, solid facts,” Bowman said.

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