Marland Heights group delivers report

WEIRTON Heritage Architectural Associates recently completed a feasibility study for the restoration of the Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool at Marland Heights Park, and the Marland Heights Community Association relayed the long-awaited findings to the park board at Thursday’s regular meeting.

An estimated timeline to get the pool up and running is separated into five phases, and the total estimated cost is between $331,300 and $351,300. The MHCA currently has enough funds to cover the first two phases, and members are researching avenues to raise the rest, including potential grants. Phase 1 consists of demolition and removal of all non-essentials, remodeling of outdoor bathrooms and electrical upgrades to the pool deck lighting. Phase 2 entails interior repair work and filtration room upgrades, and Phase 3 is exterior pool reconstruction. According to the timeline, the first three phases could be completed by October of this year, leaving Phases 4 and 5 for spring and summer of 2015.

Doug Jackson, president of the MHCA, emphasized this plan is only the “bare bones” and does not take into account operating budgets, only the basic necessities to make the pool operational.

The discussion turned to obtaining grant money, which often requires an ownership deed. Jackson set forth two scenarios for the park board to consider. The first is to forfeit ownership to the MHCA, and the second is to forge a partnership with the MHCA. The latter option would broaden the horizon for available grants. Park board member Ed Bowman suggested the association present those options in writing with more detail at the next meeting for consideration.

“It’s about Marland Heights. It’s about saving property values,” Jackson said. “I talk to these people all the time. Their pensions have been cut. They’re not getting the subsidies that they used to get. Forty years on the work force at Weirton Steel, and they’re getting a $623 pension. The only value these people have is what’s in their homes. It’s not about people swimming in a pool. It’s about the financial implications for the entire city of Weirton and the surrounding area. That’s what it’s about.”

Park board member Deb Witkowski thanked members of the MHCA for their efforts to save the pool.

In other business, Bowman pointed out a need for more visible security at youth league basketball games. There was an altercation at an event recently, and onlookers expressed concern that such conflicts have the potential to escalate. He said it’s worth noting that the problems seem to stem from parents arguing, not the children.