WHEELING - There's no better place for Woodsdale residents to enjoy the spring weather than Edgewood Park with its grass, shade and benches where people can sit and watch the neighborhood happenings.
However, the poor condition of the sidewalks that wrap around the area makes it more difficult for residents to enjoy the beauty of their neighborhood park.
A casual walk around the park revealed that almost every piece of concrete is cracked and crumbling. On one particular stretch, the concrete is almost completely deteriorated and a hole filled with grass has taken its place instead. The curbs sit jagged, sticking out at various angles. There are no handicap accessible sidewalk ramps, leaving the park inaccessible to a person with disabilities.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Mike Speaker, left, and Edward Evanko point out deteriorated areas of the sidewalks surrounding Edgewood Park in the Woodsdale neighborhood of Wheeling.
Edward Evanko has lived on East Park Street since 1977 and has been insisting for about three and a half years that the city of Wheeling take action to renovate the park. He said the disrepair is primarily a safety issue.
"The city owns it. They have to take care of it. They're responsible," Evanko said. "One person who falls out there could really hurt themselves."
He said for the cost of a potential lawsuit, the city could "redo the park many times over."
Evanko cited the renovation of Central Park between Charles, Main, 17th and 18th streets in Wellsburg. The city received $15,000 in state grants to install new landscaping, lighting, benches and garbage cans as well as expand the paved area in the park. The city has hired a local landscaper, Brad Shaffer, to design the improvement project.
"There's only 2,800 people in Wellsburg and they have the money," Evanko said. "They decided they're going to redo their whole park, and I've just been wanting to get a little concrete here."
Rusty Jebbia, public works director for the city of Wheeling, said a recent survey of the park determined it would cost an estimated $80,000 to replace the concrete for the entire area. He said that cost is not something the city can handle. City Council in March approved the 2012-13 General Fund Budget of $29.89 million. After the next fiscal year begins July 1, he said, some carryover from the current year may be available for new projects.
Currently, Jebbia said, some patch work is planned for the park in the near future.
Edgewood Park serves more than the immediate surrounding residents - people from throughout the entire city utilize the park. Often residents drive to the park to picnic or just enjoy the fresh air. The park also serves as a play area for children of the neighborhood.