Privately-Funded Recreation Complex Pitched To Moundsville City Council

A resident approached Moundsville City Council Tuesday seeking land at Moundsville’s East End Park for a privately funded, $1 million indoor recreation complex.

Eric Tucker represented numerous local businesses before council’s policy committee, asking for officials’ assistance in bringing the recreational facility to the park. The facility would be geared toward children but would be accessible for all ages.

“It’s not a YMCA, but it’s very similar to what a YMCA-type facility would do,” Tucker said. “This facility could … include a couple basketball courts, an indoor, multipurpose turf field that could be used for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, you name it.”

Tucker, who serves on the board of directors at West Virginia University Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital, said the most common question asked by prospective doctors coming to the area is about accessibility of recreational facilities for children,

“It comes down to, ‘I have three kids, how are the school systems and what are you going to do to keep them out of trouble?’ And right now, our answer is, we’ve got a great community. But a facility that could be used 12 months out of the year is something I’ve got a passion for.”

The funding for this proposed complex, Tucker said, would come from private investors, something which Councilman Allen Hendershot pointed out would make the facility a for-profit venture. Tucker drew comparisons to a similar facility in Parkersburg, which ensures capital improvements are made to the building before any money is returned to stockholders.

“There’s no guarantee for any sort of a payback. The investors may never get their money back — ever. If it operates in the red, an investor won’t get one cent out of it until there’s a profit,” Tucker said.

He added he had previously approached Grand Vue Park with the same proposal, but was told of restrictions that prohibited it. However, City Attorney Thomas White said he did not see any immediate problems with development at East End Park.

Tucker estimated it would take about six months to find investors after council agrees to move forward with the proposed complex, plus an additional six to nine months to get the facility up and running. Councilman David Wood asked his colleagues to move forward and take action as soon as possible, moving to bring the matter to a vote at next week’s council meeting.

Councilman Phil Remke joined Wood in advancing the proposal to council.

“This thing’s been bogged down forever, and we’re going to table it for another month,” he said. “I ask that we … make a decision. Either we table it and sit here like we normally do, or we go forward with gusto.”