Decisions on what to do with about 125 acres of land adjacent to Wheeling's North Park neighborhood will not have to be made for some time, perhaps years. It may take that long for the state's landfill cleanup program to make the land safe for use.
Still, city officials are wise to begin seeking public opinions on the site now. They did just that during a meeting held last week.
As we reported, land used by two separate landfill operations is involved. One was closed in 1983 and the other in 1994. Through a program established in 1992, the state at some point will be sealing areas of the site where garbage was dumped, and placing a two-foot layer of earth on top of it.
That should make the land safe for use, perhaps for recreational facilities.
Several proposals were aired during the public meeting last week. They range from building new ballfields to creating hiking trails on the old landfills.
Again, no decisions need to be made immediately. But clearly, the land represents an opportunity for Wheeling residents.
At minimal cost, facilities such as a dog park and hiking/biking trails could be created. No doubt other very cost-effective ideas will be brought forth in the future.
City officials should focus on low-cost, easy-maintenance facilities at the site, rather than extravagant proposals that will cost lots of money initially and in the future. The area should be an asset to Wheeling residents, not a burden.