Plan Is to Revitalize Moundsville’s East End Playground

“‘Bring Back the East End Playground!”

No, the East End Playground hasn’t gone anywhere. Instead there are concerns pertaining to this facility — the number of attractions offered there and the number of people utilizing the Park.

City Manager Rick Healy and parks and recreation Director John White did a study of the East End Playground complex, and have developed a plan and a goal, the latter to make the park a clean, safe, family-oriented place to spend time.

Healy stated, “This should be the showplace park for Moundsville, and it can be.”

A plan has been presented to city council which has seen the need and had the foresight to dedicate some of the 1 percent sales and use tax to both the recreation department and to Four Seasons Pool, which is part of the playground.

In fact, with the pool needing immediate assistance, more than $200,000 was spent to replace the dehumidifier and heating system, new lights were installed and painting was done, along with other upgrades.

Healy said, “Because of that investment, the pool is now seeing a resurgence, which some thought would never happen.”

In his recent presentation to city council pertaining to the East End Playground, he stated, “The fund (the 1 percent tax) has quickly grown and it is now time to see some of that money given to the citizens, especially (giving) the kids what they deserve, and that is a showplace park — and East End should be that park.” He added, “With money that has been set aside from the municipal sales tax, we now have the funds to do what needs done — most things that have simply gone unattended over the years, but there is life there, and it is a good life! With these improvements and the addition of fantastic programming that hasn’t been seen for years, East End will be back on the map again.”

Before getting into the plan, I have done some research and spoke with two individuals — Bob Montgomery and Colin Simmons — who were introduced to baseball at the East End at early ages, and continue to be involved in not only this sport, but several other sports.

First of all, the records in the Marshall County Clerk’s office, reveal that on the last day of April 1941, a lease agreement took place between Wheeling Steel Corporation, a Delaware corporation being the “leassor” and the East End Playground Association, a non-profit corporation, organized under the laws of the State of West Virginia, as the “leassee.” One paragraph in the agreement listed the amount of land changing hands, that figure being 4.917 acres.

A second paragraph makes mention of four lots in the Price Addition in that same area.

The document states that the premises were to be used and occupied for playground and recreational purposes. The EEPA was to pay $1 for the use of the playground.

Also, there was another deed 20 years later (Feb. 8, 1961), with this transaction between Bethany Coal Company, a West Virginia corporation and the city of Moundsville, listing the same parcels. Only this document consisted of a transfer of land rather than a lease agreement. The figure of $10 was listed.

The most recent document dealing with the East End Playground was this past January, it being in conjunction with the city of having obtain a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant. That was the the same governmental agency which funded a grant for the initial building of Four Seasons Swimming Pool in the early 1970s.

Getting back to early days, Montgomery, Simmons and myself all remember a large building at the East End site. None of us ever knew the main purpose of that structure. Simmons said he worked out in the building, along with a number of others who were boxers, in his youth.

The early East End Playground consisted of a shelter, a basketball court, a swimming pool, playground equipment, and one baseball field. On Thursday nights in the summer there were movies, and those viewing the movies sat on the ground. In the winter when there was snow on the ground, the hillside of the East End was used by sled riders who like a bumpy ride.

We all agreed that originally there was only one baseball field, and it was probably built in the mid- to late-1940s, as there was a local league comprised of high school-aged youth. A second field was used for softball and youth baseball, in either the late 1940s or early 1950s. Among those using that field were the Limestone Lassie Women’s Softball team, Men’s Fast Pitch Softball, and in 1954 youth baseball began.

In getting back to Healy’s remarks to city council, he notes that during the 1960s and 1970s, the East End Playground was booming. He pointed out that baseball games filled both fields every evening and there were plenty of kids playing on the playground and basketball courts. He adds that during the 1980s through the 2000s, things started changing as other ballfields were constructed, recreation leagues began to decrease, and unfortunately, so did the quality of the park. He remarked that city leaders did the best they could with limited funding, and because of this, things like fencing, lighting, surfacing and many general repairs were corrected only when absolutely necessary, or not completed at all.

With these improvements and the addition of fantastic programming that hasn’t been seen for years, East End Playground will be back on the map again.

Here is the “Bring Back East End!” plan:

Proposed Phase I Improvements include:

Playground

Replace all of the playground equipment with safe, new equipment. The package would include handicapped accessible swings and surfaces.

Improvements leading from the parking lot to the Americans with Disabilities Act surface.

Benches to be purchased for placement around the playground area. Sell these benches to people or businesses who might want their names on them. The goal is for six benches.

Remove old propane pipe and fill hole.

Install a three-foot fence along the playground side.

Shelter

Remove existing roofing and install new roofing. Install sidewalk to shelter from parking lot (already poured).

Purchase four new picnic tables for the shelter (one to be ADA-compliant), and install an inground small hibachi grill. Rental of this shelter will be very inexpensive.

Security and Other

Improvements

Cameras — Plan is to install 13 cameras throughout the park. Cameras would be monitored at the pool office, as well as 24/7 at the Police Department.

Roller hockey — Create a roller hockey rink by consolidating it with the existing skate park.

Install maintenance building at basketball court.

Fencing

Roller Rink Divider –Install a fence along with one gate.

Replacement of the fence/gate for the basketball court.

Straighten and re-cement posts at Colt field

Railroad Street Basketball Entrance, replace 50 feet of fencing.

Railroad Street in front of pool, replace 40 feet of fence.

Something that hasn’t been done in recent years is summer programs at the East End.

However, this year there will be a summer sports camp for children going into grades 3-5, for one day a week for four weeks. It will consist of teaching sportsmanship and basic rules of municipal sports

There will also be 3 on 3 basketball tournaments.

A summer craft program for pre-school through second grade will be held for one or two days during the summer.

A ladies softball league is now forming, with four teams already signed up.

Phase II of the plan will include such undertakings as a splash pad, an outside concession stand, etc.

Plans for Phase III have yet to be discussed.

Dumpsters will be located in Moundsville, (two days) and Glen Dale (two days), this weekend as part of the annual Marshall County Spring Clean-Up.

The Moundsville site will be at Valley Fork Park, the east side entrance off of 12th Street, while in Glen Dale the site will be at City Garage on western 7th Street.

As is the case with other dumpster sites, there will be some restrictions.

Nineteen Marshall County Schools teachers and service personnel who will be retiring at the end of the current academic year were recognized this past Tuesday in conjunction with the board of education.

All five board members introduced the retirees, and presented each of them with a certificate.

The 19 individuals have a total of 485 years of combined experience.

The retirees include:

Alan Cox, Cassie Cox, David Gaudino, Diane Gellner, Maurerite Harbison, Graydon Henry, Patrica Hoskins, Patricia Johnson, Mary Kelley, Nancy Moore, Sally Mull, Cheryl Ray, James Richmond, Karen Rogerson, Dave Smith, Marilyn Wehrheim, Robert Wheat, Sheila Wilson and Michelle Wnek.

Cameron American Legion Post No. 18 will conduct a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. on May 27 at the new Veterans Memorial Park, with Dr. D.W. Cummings, pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Temple of Wheeling, the guest speaker.

The Cameron High School band will provide appropriate selections for the occasion, with Pastor Steve Jumper rendering the invocation.

Some members of Unit No. 18 Auxiliary will also provide history of the Legion’s Memorial Day service. Auxiliary members will also place the Memorial Wreath. Also participating in the service will be Scout units.

The service will conclude with prayer and rifle salute and taps.

Food will be served at the A.L. annex building to those attending the service.

Also, on the same day the Post Honor Guard will participate in a Memorial Day service at the Big Run Christian Church, where they will render a rifle salute and taps at the conclusion of the service.

The Marshall County Relay for Life will be an event of May 31-June 1 at the north parking lot of John Marshall High School. The hours will be 5 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Chevron Energy will be a Signature sponsor.

Platinum sponsor will be United Bank/United Brokerage. Silver Sponsors are the AEP Mitchell Plant, Fourth Street United Methodist Church, Wheeling, and Wheeling Southwest Energy. The Bronze sponsors are Main Street Bank and Gold Khourey & Turak Law Firm.

A special two-part program will be held by the Marshall County Historical Society Monday evening at society’s museum, 13th Street and Lockwood Avenue in Moundsville.

The initial program will begin at 6 p.m., with presentations by Marshall County fifth graders who represented the county as regional and state winners at the West Virginia Social Studies Fair.

Those students are Brodie Baker, Terrance Brawner, Addison Blake, Brandt Blake, Knox Wilson and Emily Gates.

At 7 p.m., Dr. Jeffrey Rutherford, a Fulbright Scholar and former Associate History Professor at Wheeling Jesuit University, will discuss pivotal events during June 1944 that “broke the back” of the German Army.

Following Dr. Rutherford’s presentation, Gary Rider will give a brief highlight of a couple of Marshall County Patriots who fought on, D-Day” ­– June 6, 1944.

The public is invited to attend these programs.

Thanks to those who took time this past week to express congratulations on my being honored by the Tiffany Dlesk Spay-Neuter Clinic and the Marshall County Animal Shelter.

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