Discussions regarding economic development point to a small set of selling points when it comes to attracting residents and businesses.
In addition to educational opportunities, available infrastructure, housing stock, and health care, many emphasize the importance of recreation available in a community.
That’s why we hope a public workshop held last week between Weirton City Council and the city’s Parks and Recreation Board will help drive more investment in community recreation.
Maintaining two parks, a recreational trail, more than a dozen neighborhood playgrounds and the Millsop Community Center requires a lot of work from a small group of employees and a board of volunteers. It is not a lucrative operation, but it certainly needs funding to ensure the facilities are operational, clean and safe for residents in our area.
The city council provides an annual allocation of funds, primarily for salaries and basic operating costs, and there have been emergencies where the money has been provided. Other than that, the park board looks to community sponsors, grants, and contributions from other local government entities or civic groups for its programs and investments.
The ongoing effort to pave the Panhandle Trail, for example, has received funding through a state grant, the park board itself, a local foundation, and contributions from Hancock and Brooke county commissioners. . Park officials are trying to secure a loan for improvements to Marland Heights Park, and the Starvaggi Park Civic Association is hoping to secure funds to help improve the playground the group installed nearly two decades ago. The playground at Marland Heights Park has also been improved through the efforts of residents.
A strong line of communication between members of Weirton Town Council and the Park Board is important, as is future investment of time and money, to ensure the area’s recreational opportunities continue to grow.