Park Board talks security measures at Marland Heights Park

WEIRTON — The Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation is looking into the possibility of ramping up security at one of the city’s main recreational areas.

During Thursday’s board meeting, members discussed taking new security measures at Marland Heights Park.

“It has had more than its share of vandalism,” Board Chair Ed Bowman said.

According to board member Iris Himmelrick, the most recent incident — approximately one months ago — involved alleged attempts to set new picnic tables at the park on fire.

This also wasn’t the first time fire allegedly was used to vandalize portions of the park.

“We almost lost a whole shelter a couple years ago,” Himmelrick noted.

It was noted there also have been incidents of people climbing into the unused Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool.

Himmelrick, who had been an active member of the Marland Heights Community Association, said there had been cameras at some points of the park, and a light pole had been installed near the basketball court.

“That helped tremendously,” she said, adding placing new lights near the playground area could have the same result.

Bowman asked about the possibility of having a police officer stationed at the park to keep watch.

“If we catch them red-handed, it’s going to stop,” Bowman said.

Parks Director Coty Shingle said he already has spoken to the Weirton Police Department about the possibility, but was told current staffing could make it difficult to make someone available. Shingle was told on-duty officers could increase patrols by the park, though.

In related business, Shingle explained he has hired an employee who will be dedicated solely to provide regular care and maintenance at Marland Heights Park.

“There will be someone up there,” Shingle said.