The city's recently completed annual weeklong collection of festivals and events offered a good opportunity for area residents to share a wide variety of experiences, learn a little bit of our region's history and just plain enjoy a late spring weekend with their friends and neighbors.
From Ohio Valley Frontier Days through the Greek food festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church; from the tours of the Jefferson County Historical Association Museum, Historic Fort Steuben and the early restoration work at the Grand Theater; from the downtown Hometown Celebration to the special appearance of Beatlemania Magic at the Berkman Amphitheater to the Dean Martin Festival, the events gave a big boost to our area.
They all represented things that are good in our community. That's important to remember, especially when you take into account the negative attitudes about the region that pop up from time to time.
That said, it's sometimes equally important to look at the impression our area leaves on visitors from out of town, visitors, for example like Mike Waddell of Pewaukee, Wis.
"My wife and I do a lot of traveling, and we really enjoyed visiting your community," Waddell said when contacted by telephone Monday morning.
The conversation happened during a routine call to verify that a letter had indeed been submitted by the person whose name was signed on the bottom of it. Waddell had written the letter as a thank you to everyone in the community who ensured the trip he and his wife had made to Steubenville to attend the Dean Martin Festival was an enjoyable experience.
"Your community is probably one of the friendliest places we've ever been to," Waddell added, saying that he and his wife planned to return next year.
Take a look at his letter - "Visitors found city enjoyable" - that's on Page 5B of today's edition. It offers a look at the city from the perspective of a couple from out of town, and it demonstrates that some of things that we often take for granted can indeed be very welcoming.
As with many things, the impression you are left with about anything, from a trip back in time at Historic Fort Steuben, to several days of celebrating the life and talent of Dean Martin, depends a lot on your perspective.
There's been a lot of discussion in the city recently about the construction of a roundabout on Lovers Lane. Area residents had a chance to weigh in and share their thoughts about the possible construction of a roundabout at the intersection with Mall Drive during a public meeting held April 24 at the Prime Time Senior Citizen Center.
Comments ranged from great enthusiasm for the roundabout as a way to improve the flow of traffic on the road as one phase of a widening and reconstruction project, to the feeling that Lovers Lane, which was constructed in 1928, needs nothing more than a fresh layer of asphalt to serve the needs of the area in the 21st century.
It's interesting to note that while residents and leaders in our community have been debating whether or not a roundabout is appropriate, the decision has been made not too far away that roundabouts are a preferred option to improve intersections.
That's according to a story written by Justine Coyne, "More roundabouts coming to the Pittsburgh region," that appeared in the June 18 edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Coyne writes that Daniel Cessna, PennDOT District 12 director, and Joseph Dubovi, PennDOT District 10 executive, agree that roundabouts make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. They force drivers to slow down and can increase traffic capacity by 30 percent to 50 percent, Coyne writes.
City Engineer Michael Dolak asked members of council to support the construction of a single-lane roundabout in 2016 during the June 17 meeting of City Council. That recommendation did not sit well with some members of council.
Residents will get a chance to again share their thoughts about the project during an open house presentation set for July 24 at the Prime Time center. That meeting will offer the chance to learn more about the Lovers Lane project in general and proposed roundabout in particular.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)