Volunteer help could make area parks work
Like public officials in many Ohio Valley communities, those in Weirton are having to rethink priorities for spending taxpayers’ money. There just isn’t enough of it to go around, especially with populations — and, thus, the number of taxpayers — shrinking.
Some municipal parks and playgrounds in Weirton may have to close, members of the city Board of Parks and Recreation worry. A list of the 12 parks and playgrounds, along with information on how much they are used, is being prepared for the board. It will be discussed next month.
Clearly, some recreational areas will not be affected by any closures. Starvaggi Park, for example, is used extensively, according to Parks Director Coty Shingle. Others may not have the same appeal. For example, as was noted at the board’s meeting last week, there have been suggestions the Woodland Estates Playground on Union Street be converted into a dog park.
No matter how carefully board members consider the situation, there will be criticism of any decision to close parks or playgrounds. All board members can do, as Chairman Ed Bowman noted, is “make our decision on good, solid facts.”
There may be an option: Some communities have saved recreation areas by getting volunteer help to maintain and operate them.
That may be worth considering in Weirton, as a last-chance alternative to closure.