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April 25, 2011 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
Who would have thunk it? East Wheeling -- a longtime sore spot in the Friendly City -- may eventually hold the key to Wheeling's much-needed revitalization. It is no secret downtown Wheeling is leaking oil. It is void of storefronts. Businesses have either closed for good or relocated -- many to The Highlands. A multi-million dollar project -- first broached some 10 months ago -- could spark a Wheeling renaissance. A new sports and recreation complex is planned for 14th to 16th streets near the former Clay School. The current venue is blighted and a haven for criminal activity. Should the revitalization project come to fruition, it would mean a $2.5 million facelift to an area which many people have given up on. It would feature football, baseball and soccer fields and a jogging track. The athletic portion of the massive project will be accompanied by a housing rehabilitation project. Wheeling officials noted most of the required property has been purchased. The project appears as if it may get off the ground. If and when the complex reaches finality, it will be both a feather in Wheeling officials' caps as well as a possible magnet to attract businesses and other activity back to the downtown area. I commend the city leaders for having both the vision and commitment to undertake a project of this magnitude, turning a negative into a positive -- one that may just ignite a Wheeling rebirth.
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