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Weirton parks continue to be affected by COVID-19 pandemic

WEIRTON — The Weirton park board continues its efforts to provide recreational activities and services to the community, despite the obstacles created by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

During Thursday’s board meeting, held via teleconference, Parks Executive Director Coty Shingle explained Weirton’s parks has lost more than $150,000 in operational revenue since early March 2020, related to closures of the Millsop Community Center and Starvaggi Memorial Pool, as well as the cancelations of numerous events.

Although the community center has reopened, with limited capacity, Shingle said there is still a reduced number of memberships sold, and there have been increased costs as a result of additional cleaning expenses.

“Our total revenues are off about $37,000 compared to this time last year,” Shingle said, explaining revenue would have been worse if not for various spending freezes and funding cuts implemented in recent months.

Shingle did announce the Park Board had received $42,000 in CARES Act funds from the state, and had submitted another reimbursement application, although he had been told there are no more funds available for local governments.

“We’ve probably gotten what we’re going to get,” he said.

The Millsop Center will continue to have occupancy restrictions for some areas, including the gymnasium and meeting rooms, although regular workout areas are set at near 100 percent because equipment is placed with social distancing in mind.

Current limits are 120 people in the gymnasium, 55 people in the Weirton Room and 66 people in the Rose Room. The steam rooms will remain closed, and all patrons are required to wear masks to enter the building.

One slight adjustment is in the policy concerning minors inside the center. Those under the age of 18 will be allowed at the Millsop Center, but must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or other legal guardian.

In addition, operating hours are being shifted to close at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Program Director Chris Krishak announced the annual Christmas Bulletin Board Auction had raised $3,000, offering thanks to the area businesses which had contributed to it, and noted planning has begun for this year’s Easter Egg hunt.

“We’re going to work that out and see what we can come up with,” he said, noting COVID precautions would be in place.

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

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