Save the Park

MEMORIAL PARK in St. Clairsville is a scenic venue, one offering many family-oriented recreational options.

It is a frequently used facility. It is also an entity that is in financial dire straits.

Memorial Park’s future is shrouded in doubt and uncertainty. That is an unfortunate scenario, as such a good thing should operate without such concerns.

The problem reached critical proportions after voters shot down a quarter mill operating levy on Nov. 6. The levy was needed to help avert closing the park’s gates.

Now, park board members are at a loss on what avenue to pursue in their bid to avoid closing up shop. Should that happen, countless individuals would suffer, as a beautiful site would lay dormant. That would be disturbing, as the park has seen improvements to infrastructure, including a new pool liner, a pump and a slide. These were funded by a capital improvement levy that cannot be spent on needs such as lifeguards, grass cutting and other maintenance.

The park is owned and operated by the St. Clairsville/Richland Township Memorial Park District, not by St. Clairsville or Richland Township. The facility receives funds from neither. This year’s shortfall did not come as a surprise.

The park board is feeling the brunt of a major cut in local government funding. In 2005 the park received close to $35,000 while next year less than $9,000 is expected. Suffice to say, it is easy to see why the park is encountering money issues.

The park board is pondering another levy try, this one coming in the spring. Such a move is still in the talking stage as it may prove too cost prohibitive.

Regardless of what direction the park board goes, we urge residents to support it.

Memorial Park is a treasure you do not want to lose.