Rec board debates repairs to shelter

STEUBENVILLE — Parks and Recreation Director Lori Featherolf figures the insurance settlement for a fire-damaged shelter roof at Beatty Park will be enough to tear it down.

“I’m just not sure it will be enough to put a new one up,” Featherolf said. “I lean toward with it being an historical thing, we really should put the roof back on.”

Most of the roof was destroyed by fire during a cold spell a little more than a week ago. City firefighters said it “started in a 55-gallon drum, people were probably burning things in it and the flames got out of control,” City Manager Jim Mavromatis said.

He said the board needs to think about increasing security at the shelter, located in the back of the park.

Mayor Jerry Barilla said the shelter is in “part of the park that goes back to the very early days of Steubenville (and) may very well have been built prior to World War II.” Barilla said he’d favor putting a new roof on “and, if possible, a metal one that will last 40 years.”

“We must not give up on this historic nature park,” Barilla said. “We always hope the citizens will appreciate and respect such a treasure.”

Board member Ken Peterson said he has mixed feelings, pointing out the shelter “doesn’t appear to be heavily used … but it has a lot of historical value.”

Mavromatis said the board needs to get an estimate for the repairs, “then go forward with the security.”

In other matters, board members said they aren’t sure they’ll be able to use the $100,000 state grant awarded to extend the water line all the way to the marina.

Featherolf said they just don’t have the money to cover the rest of the cost.

“We have to come up with an additional $190,000 or we lose the grant,” she said.

Peterson said it’s unfortunate, because the marina is a landmark.

“It’s the focal point of the city when you’re coming into town,” he said. “It’s tremendously appealing, but I don’t know that we need to sink a lot of money into it. It’s more money than we’ve got. I hate to abandon it because it’s the first thing people see when they come across the bridge. I don’t know that I’m in favor of all the upgrades, but I do favor making it visually appealing.”

Featherolf said the board “just doesn’t have the money to sink into it,” she said. “To sink our capital into it when we have other things that we need to do … I can’t justify it.”

Featherolf pointed out the board spent $1,200 last year to repair 70-80 slats in a fence around the kiddie area at Belleview Park; this year, “we’ve had 35 slates broken out,” she said.

“I’m tired of paying out $1,000 a year to repair (slats),” Peterson added.

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