Guest column/Questions need to be answered about marina

I would like to comment on the marina controversy although I don’t understand why it is one. The marina has been there for years with little or no attention. Periodically, a cleanup effort would be made with no follow-up, and now there is a concerted effort by some to accept a $100,000 grant to be used at the marina. I thought it originally was intended to be for a water line, but if I understand the discussion it would take an additional $190,000 of local money to complete the line. Now, it seems that advocates for the money say it can be used for any recreational purpose, but not specifically what, although the nature trail has again come up. Those pushing for any of this should tell the citizens of this city where additional money is going to come from. Certainly not from another water rate increase if the use of the money is for a water line.

Recreation Director Lori Fetherolf stated that the city cannot afford and does not have the manpower to maintain the marina. Sixth Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna complained about the lack of maintenance of existing facilities, and two weeks ago City Manager Jim Mavromatis stated that some parks and playgrounds would probably need to be closed due to inability to maintain them. The water and sewer systems are going to cost millions of dollars to correct their deficiencies due to years of neglect, and the streets are not being maintained as they should be. In fact, the only streets being paved are those that qualify for Community Development Block Grant money which is for areas with low incomes, and recreation has been treated like an unwanted stepchild for years. So to the marina advocates, before you vote to take the $100,000 grant, please answer these questions:

¯ First, where does the money come from to fully extend the water line?

¯ Second, what plans are in place to develop the marina? Are there plans to build a pier and docks as have been mentioned, and if so, how big and how many? How much will it cost and where will you get the money?

¯ Third, are there plans for a shelter with picnic tables? How big and how much?

¯ Fourth, will there be toilet facilities? How many, how much and where do you get the money?

¯ Fifth, are there plans to construct a decent road to replace the rut-filled and potholed dirt road that presently exists? How much will that cost?

¯ Sixth, will there be decent parking facilities and at what cost?

¯ Seventh, what plans are in place to provide better and safer access than presently exists?

¯ Eighth, what security is going to be implemented, since you can almost bet there will be vandalism since it occurs by morons at all the other facilities?

¯ Ninth, will there be a concession stand? Who tends to it?

¯ Tenth, how many people will it take to maintain the area and how will you pay for them?

If for a nature trail, again, where do you get the money, how much will it cost, who will maintain it and how do you develop it from Alikanna along the river where you have to traverse a railroad track, concrete plant and four-lane highway in a safe manner?

Perhaps these questions can be specifically answered at the next committee or council meeting. I would like to see answers that don’t begin with “We hope to get …,”,“We expect to apply…,”, etc. If specific answers to the above questions cannot be given, then voting to get the money offered is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

(Mascio, a resident of Steubenville, served as the city’s law director and was a longtime Jefferson County Common Pleas Court judge.)


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