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Residents Enjoying Oglebay’s Outdoor Activities

Greg and Laurie McDermott, left, and their daughters Jackie and Morgan stand in front of the new McDermott Family Tennis Shelter in Oglebay Park.

WHEELING – Even during a global pandemic, sunny summer weather is often too enticing to resist.

For many Ohio County residents, the tennis courts and wide-open golf courses at Oglebay Park have become a refuge for people wanting to enjoy time outside while still practicing social distancing and staying safe.

Herb Faulkenberry, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Oglebay, said he has been delighted by the public response to Oglebay’s open facilities and summer activities. Faulkenberry said Oglebay has been affected by cancellations from large groups that normally host events and programs during summer months, but the average number of transient guests at the park each day is comparable to previous years.

Oglebay has been careful to observe federal and state guidelines to protect its guests and keep employees safe, Faulkenberry emphasized. Guests are encouraged to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other visitors wherever possible, and staff members sanitize park equipment, such as golf carts and paddle boats, between each use.

They have also added a new outdoor dining option at the Crispin Grill this summer in order to limit the number of guests spending prolonged periods in enclosed spaces. Faulkenberry said the Route 88 BBQ and Grill, which opened in April 2019 and features outdoor seating, has experienced a surge in popularity among visitors to the park.

“Guests are certainly more vigilant this summer,” Faulkenberry said, referring to increased concern over public health amid the pandemic. “Some choose to wear masks. But it clear that they are still interested in enjoying outdoor activities.”

Faulkenberry said that there seems to be more interest than usual for activities that allow for ample social distancing. The park, for example, has experienced increased foot traffic on its golf courses, with more rounds of golf being played than normal, he said.

The tennis courts are also popular this summer, said Faulkenberry, along with the newly added pickleball courts. These are part of new improvements in the park’s tennis facilities meant to “ensure the tennis facilities at Oglebay and Wheeling Park remain competitive,” said Michael Hires, Oglebay Foundation Director of Communications.

These updates also include alternative racket facilities and the newly constructed McDermott Family Tennis Shelter. Construction of the shelter was made possible by a donation from Wheeling Park Commissioner and Oglebay Foundation board member Greg McDermott and his wife, Laurie.

“Laurie and I want to make sure the Ohio Valley tennis community remains strong with first-rate facilities,” McDermott said. “We love Oglebay. We are there virtually every single day: walking, playing tennis, skiing, dining. Some of our family’s best times and memories have happened (there).”

The shelter is part of an investment strategy to ensure the tennis facilities at Oglebay and Wheeling Park remain competitive, officials said.

“Laurie’s and Greg’s commitment to Oglebay goes beyond tennis,” said Eriks Janelsins, Oglebay Foundation President and CEO. “They’re perfect park ambassadors. We’re grateful for their generous gifts of time, treasure and talent.”

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