STEUBENVILLE - Working on the Beatty Park entrance landscape project has held a special kinship for Ben Bowers.
"My great-great-grandparents were the Floto brothers who had the stone contracting company in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They may have supplied some of the larger stones used for the bridges in the park. It is neat for me to be working in the same park so many years later," Bowers said as the employees of Bowers Landscaping dug out sod and prepared the ground for a row of boxwood hedges.
Bowers and his workers finished phase one of the Beatty Park entrance beautification project and are preparing for the next project.
BRINGING LIFE BACK TO THE PARK — Ben Bowers, owner of Bowers Landscaping, and his employees have finished phase one of the Beatty Park entrance beautification project. Preparing to plant boxwood hedges are, from left, Blair Schroyer, Bowers, David Anderson and Ryan Dugan. - Dave Gossett
"We planted four honey locust trees in the middle island area and have planted shrubs and flowers elsewhere at the entrance. And, we had several trees cut down that had grown over the years and were shielding the entrance and an old walking trail. It is much more open and inviting now," Bowers explained.
"The only maintenance needed will be watering the flowers, replacing mulch over time and weeding," added Bowers.
The efforts to return the entrance of the city's South End park to its original look started last year when local businessman Jody Glaub set up a Beatty Park fund through the Community Foundation of Jefferson County.
"I established the fund with $5,000 and invited anyone who had ever spent time in Beatty Park or wanted to donate to the beautification project to contribute to the fund. I added another $5,000 and will probably donate another $5,000 in the future," said Glaub.
"I am very pleased with the new look at the park entrance. It has been opened up again and now you can see the park entrance again. I know the chamber of commerce worked with volunteers to clean the trails in the park. And I hope the park entrance work will move more people to help restore this beautiful old park to its past glory," Glaub added.
"I spent time as a kid in the South End. My wife and I walk through Beatty Park and I think at one time or another everyone has enjoyed Beatty Park," said Glaub.
"Back in the early 1980s I worked with Stephen Spurlock to put on a concert in one of the natural amphitheaters back in the park. We had 300 people in attendance that day and it is an idea that we may be able to do again. It is a beautiful and relaxing park that is a gem in our city," noted Glaub.
"I would like to see the chain link fence surrounding the culvert near the park entrance replaced by the same type of black wrought iron fence that is at the park entrance," said Glaub.
Beatty Park didn't become an official city park until 1930. But the recreation area was actually started in 1874 when the Union Cemetery Association offered to sell 100 acres in the Wells Run area to the city.
The stone park entrance on Lincoln Avenue was the original entrance to the cemetery until the Market Street gate was built.
According to the Steubenville 1910 history, "this ravine has beautiful walks and drives and is free to the public without any expense to the city."
Several walking trails still exist in the park including the Robert "Jabby" Young walking trail that runs from the north end of the park to Pleasant Heights near Trinity Medical Center East.
In 1930, Union Cemetery sold 99 acres to the city and the park formally was named Beatty Park in honor of Dr. Charles Clinton Beatty of the cemetery association.
An Easter egg hunt was held that year with more than 2,500 people participating.
The first Beatty Park pool was built in the 1930s. That pool was closed in later years and a second pool was built on an adjacent lot.
"That's the pool David Anderson and Ryan Dugan used to visit.
"I came down here all the time to go swimming. It was a great park," noted Anderson as he and Dugan helped Bowers to position several small bushes.
The second pool at Beatty Park finally was closed after several repairs and the area was filled in. The only remaining sign a pool existed at the site is a concrete retaining wall.
"There is a lot of history at Beatty Park, and I am glad to see Jody Glaub leading the beautification efforts at the park entrance. I hope we see more organizations and civic groups come together to maintain the park in the future," stated 1st Ward Councilman DiLoreto.