Opportunities knocking for Barnesville

I AM a strong advocate of being proactive and aggressive. That is why I love the proposed project unveiled recently at Barnesville.

A group of community visionaries formed a steering meeting in hopes of making a community center proposal a reality. It is a project that would bring increased vitality to the home of the Pumpkin Festival, while laying the foundation for potential development.

The community center would consist of an indoor pool, 200-meter track, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. If that wasn’t an ambitious enough of a project, the committee is also taking it to another level by weaving in a therapy pool as well as physical, cardiac and pulmonary therapy facilities.

It would be a state-of-the-art facility.

I like the fact that Barnesville Hospital, the village and the school district are working together in an attempt to make this project a reality. Each entity is ponying up $2,500 for a feasibility study. The Barnesville Community Foundation is also stepping up to the tune of $2,000 for the study. Such monetary teamwork is refreshing and also enhances the chances the project will come fruition.

The fate of a plan of such magnitude will obviously be dictated by its feasibility. A recreation levy is a must to make it a go. The levy is one that I believe voters would look kindly on, for all the benefits it would yield as well as the potential it harbors. The community center would help advance an already tremendous community.

If you are not moving forward, you are regressing. This would be a huge step forward for Barnesville.

I personally would vote for any such levy if this project was on the table in Bellaire. BUBBA’S BITS

THE TALE of two quarterbacks… After watching the NFL’s conference championships a week ago, I came away with new-found respect for Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez while reinforcing my belief that the Bears’ Jay Cutler will never get it done. Sanchez showed remarkable toughness and resiliency in losing to the Steelers while Cutler was the polar opposite, displaying no heart or toughness in a setback to the Packers.

LOOKING BACK at last weekend’s Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament, Parkersburg South’s domination will only prove beneficial to the conference as other programs will need to raise the bar. The schools that take it seriously will do just that.

JACK LALANNE was ahead of his time. The fitness and exercise pioneer died last week. He was a weightlifting and nutrition advocate decades before training become popular. He still looked physically fit at age 96.

THE 25TH Annual Ohio Valley Media Day blood drive was staged in igloo-like conditions Monday. Despite the frigid weather, area residents stepped up once again and produced 553 units of blood. However, that is just a drop in the bucket to what us is needed. American Red Cross officials said because of weather, many blood drives have been canceled, causing the lowest January blood supply in 10 years. Anyone who can donate blood is urged to as it may help countless lives.

IT’S ALL too common of an occurrence in Bellaire. Nice things often times fall prey to the criminal element in the All-American Town. The latest example is the vandalism and theft which played out recently at the former pool house in Bellaire. Park District officials did a masterful job of enlisting volunteer help to renovate the building after the pool was shut down and filled in years ago. The building serves as meeting site for the park district and is also used as an election polling site. It is also available for rental. But vandals and thieves had little regard for the hours of work, not to mention the money, donated to the renovation work. Stealing pipe and other contents from the building is obviously criminal, and to vandalize it in the process is simply cruel. It is impossible for a manpower-strapped police department to watch over all the property in Bellaire. So individual citizens and crime watches are needed to help deter such crimes.

AS WE are on the cusp of February’s arrival and Punxsutawney Phil popping his head out Wednesday, we can only hope we do not revisit a February like a year ago weather wise. We have only 49 days until spring.

OUR PRAYERS go out to Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede and her family. Ginny’s mother passed away recently.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com