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Volunteers aid in park lighting project

WEIRTON — As a result of the region’s industrial history, many area residents have developed a variety of trade skills and other talents during their lives.

On Aug. 19, members of the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation gathered to express their appreciation to three individuals who used their skills to assist with a renovation project at one of the city’s parks.

Mark Basil, Bernie Bish and Dave Ferrari, all retired electricians, volunteered their time and know-how to install new light fixtures on the tennis courts at Marland Heights Park, including hanging new LED fixtures 40 feet above the court and re-wiring the complex for the lighting upgrade.

“I’ve said on many occasions that parks and recreation in Weirton is at its best when the park board works together with the community and this is just another great example,” Parks Executive Director Coty Shingle said. “This is a project we could not have completed on our own because the cost involved in skilled labor is so great.”

The park board provided $13,000 for the cost of materials, with Shingle noting the volunteers were able to save nearly $30,000 for the project by volunteering their services. All materials were purchased at local outlets, it was noted.

“What these gentlemen did is propose a plan where they would do the work for free if we could purchase the materials, and that made the project costs bearable for the Park Board,” Shingle said. “It’s a great example of out-of-the-box thinking and, as a result, the entire city of Weirton benefits.”

The project began in late fall 2019 and was completed this summer.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are retired with skills,” Park Board Chair Edwin J. Bowman explained.

As an expression of the board’s appreciation, a plaque thanking Basil, Bish and Ferrari will be placed at Marland Heights Park. The three also were presented with gift cards.

Marland Heights Park has been in operation since the 1930s, and the court lighting was last updated in the 1970s.

According to information provided by the park board, local businesses patronized as part of the project included Weirton Electric, Cardello Electric, Weirton Rental, Busy Beaver, Fastenal, Tractor Supply, Lowe’s and Rural King.

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