Weirton must find a way to save parks

No one likes having to spend money on repairs, whether they are on a car transmission or a home HVAC system. All of us prefer using our money for nice, new things.

Sometimes we have no choice. That appears to be the situation facing Weirton residents.

During a sparsely attended meeting last Thursday — just 14 members of the public showed up — Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation officials outlined a long list of repair projects.

At the top of the list is a new vessel for the Starvaggi Pool. The current vessel, estimated to be nearly 30 years past its usable life, leaks an average of about 5,000 gallons of water a day. Without a replacement, “there’s going to come a time where the pool is not going to be able to operate,” parks system Executive Director Coty Shingle predicted last week.

Replacing the pool vessel may cost more than $1.5 million.

Another need is repairing part of a wall at the Millsop Community Center. Though deterioration of the wall has not yet reached a danger point, repairs are needed, those at the Thursday meeting were told.

In all, parks and recreation officials discussed nearly $3 million in “must-have” projects, with nearly $2 million more in “wish-list” proposals.

“We don’t have the means to raise that kind of revenue,” board Chairman Edwin Bowman emphasized during the meeting.

Some means of raising at least enough money to make needed repairs must be devised.

Most of the city’s park system was put in place during an era when Weirton was larger and more prosperous. It is a network of recreational facilities of which city residents should be proud.

But if major facilities such as the Starvaggi Pool and the Millsop Center are to remain in operation, a massive infusion of cash will be needed for repair projects. Somehow, Weirton residents — perhaps with help from voters — need to find a way to make the repairs.


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