Board taps new director

STEUBENVILLE – A central Ohio woman with park management experience and grant writing skills has been recommended for the vacant city parks and recreation director’s job.

City Manager Tim Boland asked the recreation board members Wednesday night to nominate Mary Beth Sills of Reynoldsburg for the job that has been vacant for more than a year.

Boland said Sills is prepared to start working in Steubenville on May 23.

Sills was one of the five final candidates for the job with a $41,000 salary and health care benefits.

“We received 58 applications for the position when we advertised for the job earlier this year. After narrowing the list of candidates through the interview process I conducted a second interview with Mary Beth Sills on Monday and I am asking the board tonight to select her as the parks and recreation director. She has experience in the Reynoldsburg recreation department as well as the Licking Park District,” said Boland.

“I was impressed with her recreation management experience as well as her grant writing experience. I think that will be a major plus for the city,” Boland added.

Former Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall resigned from the job in December 2012 citing tight city finances.

In other business at the monthly meeting Wednesday, Boland announced the Belleview Pool is set to open on June 14.

“Our focus now needs to be on the hiring of 20 lifeguards and a pool manager for the summer. We have also set a pool fee policy after looking at pool fees in East Liverpool and Follansbee. I am proposing a modest increase. The pool is not going to make money but we want to minimize our costs as much as possible,” Boland explained.

The proposed pool fees call for children 3 years old or younger to be admitted free. Children ages 4-8 will pay $4 a day, adults ages 18-59 will be charged $5 a day and seniors will pay $4 a day. The pool passes are $70 for children, $95 for adults, a $50 fee for senior pool passes and families can purchase a pool pass for $150 for the summer season.

Boland said he will review a discounted rate for low- and moderate-income residents and discussed the issue with the recreation board.

The city manager also announced the city administration is continuing to work with the Grand Theater for the Performing Arts Restoration Project that wants to bring the Carson and Barnes Circus to Jim Wood Park this summer for a fundraiser event.

“This involves several different city departments and we need a four-week lead time and make sure the circus is in compliance with all city regulations. They have asked for a water supply for the animals but there is no fire hydrant at the park. We will have to look at that issue,” Boland remarked.

Maintenance and Repair Department Superintendent Bob Baird said another issue may be the usual field usage by the Steubenville High School marching band and the high school soccer team.

The Carson and Barnes Circus appeared at the Fort Steuben Mall parking lot two years ago for a one-day fundraiser for the Grand Theater.

The board approved several facility reservation requests, including a Steubenville Tigers request to use Murphy Field from July 7 through Oct. 30, Mondays through Saturdays, for football practice.

The board agreed the Tigers will clean the restrooms and empty trash containers as in-kind services in lieu of a usage fee.

Also approved Wednesday were:

A request from the Steubenville Tigers cheerleaders to use a room at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center Tuesday through May 22 and May 24 for a cheering camp and try-outs.

East Elementary School, May 22 at a Belleview Park shelter house and playground.

Bishop John King Mussio Junior High School request for the Belleview Shelter, lower field and basketball court from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on June 2 to celebrate the Honor Math Achievement.

The Jefferson County Trails and Greenways Committee to use Beatty Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 24 for a 5K race and walk.

The LaBelle Neighbors Who Care annual day camp from July 28 to Aug. 8 at the Belleview Clubhouse.

A request from a doctoral candidate student to use a room once a week at the MLK Center for his study.

The fourth-annual rib burn-off tentatively set for July 11-12 at Belleview Park remained tabled until organizer Rod Harton meets with Boland and other city officials to finalize details for the event.

And the board members tabled requests from the School of Bright Promise, Ohio Valley Dance and the Ohio Valley Down Syndrome Support group because no representative from those organizations attended the recreation meeting.

Baird announced the recreation department has applied for a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association for rehab work at the Belleview Clubhouse.

“If we receive that grant we hope to match it with an additional $19,000 in city funds to do repair work as well as painting at the clubhouse. It has been some time since attention was paid to this building,” said Baird.

And Baird said the administration will determine a holiday schedule for the MLK Center for the remainder of the year.

“Except for the major holidays, I believe if schools are closed and students are out of school, the MLK Center should be open,” Baird said.

(Gossett can be contacted at