Marshall County Official Offers Assistance with Moundsville Parks

The Marshall County Parks and Recreation Board this week offered to help Moundsville manage its public recreation facilities after council’s recent decision to relegate the municipal park board to an advisory role.

City officials invited Craig White, general manager of Grand Vue Park, to give a presentation before council’s finance committee Tuesday. He said board personnel would assist Moundsville City Manager Deanna Hess, who is now responsible for directing the city’s parks and recreation department.

The cost to Moundsville of such a proposal was not discussed.

“Property management is what we’re talking about. The city of Moundsville manages it, you tell us how you want it managed, and we’d work within your guidelines,” White said. “You give us a budget, we stay within it. … Our job is to increase revenue and control expenses.”

White said the county board members would be well-prepared to handle responsibilities such as communication with state and federal agencies and coordinating events.

“You’re getting expertise from us. … A lot of questions you guys have, we’ve already gone through it in one way or another,” White said.

The county board would not take care of on-site maintenance, including mowing.

Councilman David Wood urged fellow city leaders to weigh the costs and benefits of such an arrangement, pointing out the municipal parks and recreation board’s historically unstable finances.

“Over the past eight years now, we’ve overspent by about $2.3 million. … There’s where we need help, also. As far as supervision, management, we need some experience there. I don’t think we’re going to be able to hire a bona fide recreation director. It’s not going to be cheap to get someone who knows what they’re doing with expertise.”

Moundsville’s Four Seasons Pool costs the city hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in maintenance, due to several factors, including a malfunctioning dehumidifier, leading to water damage and other problems.

Councilman Phil Remke pointed to the pool as one of the costliest ventures the city undertakes.

“I see you guys managing, but we have a lot of problems. The entire Four Seasons area is a cash cow. It’s draining us,” Remke added. “We’re having all kinds of problems and everything. It’s eating us alive. You may as well close that right now.”

The committee recommended meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, before the council meeting at 7 p.m., to consider the matter further. White told the committee he would return Monday with a written proposal.