Limit Spending On New Park

Wheeling’s newest park area, just to the south of the historic Suspension Bridge on Wheeling Island, is a blank canvas — or, rather, grassy area — just waiting to be developed. That process need not be expensive.

Just a few people attended a public meeting Tuesday that city officials had hoped would provide input on plans for the park. If you have ideas on it, they no doubt would be welcomed.

City officials spent $91,000 last year to purchase the land, which is about an acre in size. A Charleston consulting firm is being paid $24,500 to design the park.

Wheeling Director of Parks and Strategic Planning Jesse Mestrovic said the goal is for the park “to accentuate the Suspension Bridge and to tie this in with Heritage Port,” just across the east channel of the Ohio River.

Mestrovic added that it is possible the city may be able to obtain as much as $400,000 in federal grant funding to develop the park. That would have to be matched with an equal amount of city money.

Plans for the land are in their preliminary stages, Mestrovic said.

No doubt some people have extravagant, costly ideas for the land. But do taxpayers really need to spend a lot to make the park attractive and useful? No.

Nothing seems inexpensive these days, so a seven-figure estimate for developing the park would not be surprising. But holding the price tag down should be a top priority.

It needs to be kept in mind that every dollar spent on the park is a dollar that cannot be used for other pressing needs in Wheeling.

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