Swimmers returning to Belleview Park pool

STEUBENVILLE — Swimmers are returning to Belleview Park’s pool, Recreation Director Lori Fetherolf said Wednesday.

Fetherolf told the Parks and Recreation Board more than 300 people patronized the pool on the Fourth of July.

“That’s above average,” she said.

And since then, she added the pool has averaged between 55 and 60 guests a day, “way up from last year.”

In 2018, the pool averaged about 38 swimmers a day.

“One of the nice things is I see families coming back,” Fetherolf added. “That’s a nice thing. They were gone for a while, but they’re coming back.”

As part of its Fourth of July celebration, the city allowed residents to swim for free from noon to 5 p.m.

In other business, Fetherolf told the board Movie Night has been rescheduled for Aug. 3. It had been scheduled in June but the threat of rain forced her to pull the plug on the free event rather than risk losing the $700 fee.

If the Movie Night event is a success, Fetherolf said she’d like to at least look into the feasibility of purchasing the necessary equipment .

“If we had our own it would be nice,” she said. “I’d love to have one movie at one park, then do another at another park.”

Fetherolf also suggested the board members be prepared to discuss the future of the park system during the August meeting.

City Manager Jim Mavromatis has made no secret of his desire to present a plan for downsizing, saying 13 parks and play sites is too many for a town the size of Steubenville to maintain. He’s maintained the city lacks the staffing and the money to keep all 13 open, in addition to the marina property.

“I feel this group needs input into that,” Fetherolf said, adding she has been approached by two groups interested in partnering with them at parks.

“It’s not just one individual (who could lose interest quickly), it’s an association or group,” she said, adding if it pans out “it will be really big” for the two parks.

Councilwoman at large Kimberly Hahn updated the board on efforts to organize a Friends of the Marina committee and said another group is interested in doing something similar for Beatty Park.

Fetherolf pointed out having 13 “friends of” park groups would be too much for one person to coordinate and oversee.

“I don’t know structure-wise, but I know there’s a lot of interest,” Hahn said.

She also told the board progress on the shared use bike path has been stalled because to date, Norfolk Southern hasn’t responded to queries.

A city resident also approached the board to gauge interest in allowing him to organize 9-and under, 10-and under and 12-and under travel baseball teams that would play home games and practice at Jim Woods Park from April through July. He said local children are currently trying out for travel teams in Pennsylvania because there are none in the area.

Citing longstanding policy, board members said they could not vote on his request Wednesday but encouraged organizers to return in January to submit a field use application.

“I don’t think anyone has a problem with you using the field,” said board President Ken Peterson. “The problem is giving (approval) in July. It’s against policy.”

Peterson, however, said they’d prefer to see the field used and was pleased when told there would be mostly local players on the teams they field.

“A few years ago a man wanted to bring a team from Pittsburgh down to play on our field, but there would have been no local kids on the team,” he said. “We did turn that request down.”

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