Moundsville City Council Courts Idea for Vacant City-Owned Lot

Photo by Alan Olson Moundsville Councilwoman Ginger DeWitt proposes the addition of a basketball court on Garfield Street during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Advancing an idea more than 25 years in the making, Moundsville is looking at developing a vacant lot near Garfield Street into a basketball court.

City leaders during Tuesday’s council meeting agreed to survey the property at the northeast corner of Ruby and Garfield streets for the half basketball court. Councilwoman Ginger DeWitt said the plans to construct a recreational facility at that location had been in place for decades, but had never been fully explored until recently.

“Because that lot is available, we’ve been promised that land for use many, many years ago. I want to see if we can put it there,” DeWitt said.

During the meeting, council unanimously approved a motion to survey the property to assess its use. The construction would have to ultimately be approved by FEMA.

Part of the limitations on the property, DeWitt said, was due to what sort of surfaces could be used on land that lies within the flood plain, in accordance with FEMA guidelines. The land within the flood plain was purchased from residents by FEMA several years ago and sold back to the city. It is to be used for recreation, due to dangers posed by standing structures from potential flooding.

“FEMA had purchased property that had been in the flood area … anyone that had been flooded, they offered to buy their property. If they do, those folks would move, and FEMA would tear down the property. And now it can be used for nothing but recreation,” DeWitt said. “You cannot put any structures on it. … FEMA still has the final say as to what goes on this property.

“It has to have been 25 to 27 years ago,” she added. “My dad was working for the street department at that time, and he’s told me about the stuff that had been purchased at that time. … But for whatever reason, it did not come to fruition.

Parks and Recreation Director Rico Coville, when asked for his opinion, said he was in favor of adding a new recreational facility wherever permitted.

“I’m all for something somewhere,” Coville said. “You’ve got deficiencies everywhere.”

DeWitt said the recent push has come as a result of an increase in child activity in the streets, and her desire to see the children have a safer area in which to play.

“There seem to be a lot more kids in the neighborhood, and they’re playing basketball in the busy intersection,” she said. “They can’t get out of the street. That’s the only place to play. If they lose a ball, then they go running into the intersection. I’m just trying to keep the kids in my neighborhood safe.”

Council adjourned after an executive session, called by Councilman Dave Wood, to discuss personnel. No action was taken.

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