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Renovated, Improved Benwood Municipal Pool Opens

Sunday is Flag Day and if you would like to see a giant flag, the place to go is Benwood, where an American Flag flies on a daily basis.

The flag is on a poll which is 50 feet in height, and the flag itself is 45 feet by 60 feet.

Another attraction in the same general location is a new swimming pool, which came into being at a cost of $2.1 million, with the city paying more than $1.4 million. The others monies included a grant the West Virginia Development Office in the amount of $400,000 toward the pool, while another source provided nearly $200,000 to upgrade the bathhouse.

The new pool replaced a facility which had been there for some 40 years.

There have been several changes from the former pool, one being a splash pad replacing a children’s wading pool. The new pool is accessible to the handicapped, while the old one was not.

The new pool has all-new stainless steel decking, new fencing and new concrete walkways. Maintenance upgrades included boilers, filters, etc.

Many pools no longer have a 12-foot diving board, but the new Benwood pool not only has a 12-foot diving board, but also a 6-foot diving board.

There was never any shade at the old pool, but with several 40-foot umbrellas at the new facility, those wishing to get out of the sun can do so.

Also in the past, swimmers wanting to sunbathe had to do so on concrete, but with the new pool there is green turf to lie on.

“Everything dealing with the operation of the pool is new,” said Frank Longwell, who wears several hats dealing with the operation of the city.

The pool is a part of the city’s park and recreation facilities which also include two shelters, both of which are scheduled to be upgraded in a few weeks, and a building where admissions to the now-gone mini-golf course were sold. At the present time there are no basketball bank boards; however, they are on order.

The other attraction at the park is a lighted baseball/softball field.

Longwell stated, “The city is able to operate the park thanks to the industries we have.”

He added, “When we lost the steel mill it created hard times, until new tenants moved into the mill property.” He continued, “We are fortunate that two major industries came to the city, one in the north part and the other in the south part, along with Murray Energy, that has helped our coffers.”

Longwell also stated that two smaller playgrounds will be upgraded. One is at 13th Street and High Street and the other is in North Benwood.

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On the subject of Flag Day, the Sons of American Legion Post No. 3, Moundsville, will not be holding their annual Flag Day Parade today, as it has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

However, the Moundsville Veterans Honor Guard will be preforming the annual flag disposal ceremony at 6 p.m., Sunday at the new Veteran’s Memorial on the northeast corner of the Marshall County Courthouse in Moundsville. The public is invited while practicing social distancing.

Anyone who owns a worn- out American flag can bring them to the event where it will be disposed property.

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It was great this past Monday to see youngsters on baseball and softball fields practicing for their respective sports.

These sports can open their seasons on June 22.

Officials of three Marshall County entities were among those who expressed thanks that Gov. Jim Justice has enabled them and other facilities to accommodate 100 individuals to their respective activities.

Of course, the participants of these events are pleased as well.

Because of the governor’s action in easing restrictions on the size of gatherings, Grand Vue Park will be able to host several additional people at their banquet hall, as well as other attractions.

The city of Moundsville’s Four Seasons Pool will be able to allow more swimmers, while other facilities in the city hosting sporting events will enable more spectators to watch contests.

At the former West Virginia Penitentiary, this change will also affect visitors, especially those traveling by bus. The increase of numbers of participants will encourage more use of the banquet hall by clubs and organizations, such as the Fostoria Glass Convention.

Getting back to Grand Vue Park, it is somewhat back to its original offerings, except for the pool, which was scheduled to open this weekend but, but because of a last-minute delay the opening has been set back a week.

Speaking of the GVP pool, lifeguards are needed, and those interested are to apply at the park’s main office or by phoning 304-845-9810, extension 403.

The park’s Zip Line Canopy Tours and the Aerial Adventure Park, with six elements from which to choose from, are open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be guides during these periods. Those planning to participate are to call the park office. These two attractions will be open on the other days; however, at the present time participants need to all call the park office.

Also, those wishing to rent the banquet hall are to do so by coming to the office or by calling the park office.

Among some of the other attractions now open at the park are: team building, mountain bike trails, manicured grass walking trails, three disc golf courses, bird feeder stations, a tree identification trail, an all-inclusive playground. Also open is the Vue Bar & Grill (which is open on Wednesdays and Thursday from 4-8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.).

Another attraction at the pasrk is an 18-hole miniature golf course, where I attempted to play last Saturday. By the way, I finished behind my daughter, my granddaughter and my wife. As yes, we did stop at the Park’s Flurry’s Hand Dipped Ice Cream Shop.

A few other things that I learned this Thursday while at GVP, was that plans are in the works for a summer day camp, which hopefully will begin in mid-July, and bingo which is slated to open next Saturday.

Two special events will take place this week at Grand Vue Park. The first will be a “Music in the Hills” performance from 7-9 p.m., on Friday, sponsored by Moundsville Pharmacy and the Marshall County Commission. The location will be near The Vue Bar & Grill and the audience will be asked to be spaced accordingly with safety masks optional. Next Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., there will be a Spa & Sip event at GVP with limited seating available. Those planning to attend are to RSVP to Kara Hall at 304-551-6299.

Another GVP attraction is that of “Fun Fitness,” which takes place outdoors at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays

Also, the Rowe family will be returning to the area from June 28 until July 4. This family, from throughout the United States, has spent 39 years straight at Grand Vue. This year they plan to have 62 members, and will be renting seven or eight park cabins.

While on the subject of park cabins, if you are a resident of West Virginia you will receive a 30% discount, which is the same that is offered at state- owned cabins.

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Moving on to the former West Virginia Penitentiary, starting this coming week tours of the facility will be available on an hourly basis beginning at 11 a.m., and continuing through 5 p.m.

In the past few weeks the hours have been 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. The Escape Room is another attraction available at the WVP.

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Not only have the number of swimmers permitted at Four Seasons Pool increased, but also the number of people using the shelters owned by the city also gone up.

Another attraction at FSP has been pool parties and starting Sunday, June 21 the pool will be open on Sundays for such events.

Although it may be three weeks away, mark your calendar for July 4. That is when the city of Moundsville will be sponsoring its annual fireworks display.

City Manager Rick Healy said that after careful consideration and discussion with the fireworks company, city fire and police chiefs and representatives from the Marshall County Health Department, it was decided to have such an event.

The fireworks will take place in the vicinity of the Marshall County Fairgrounds and Valley Fork Park.

Although the MCF bleachers will not be open, parking will be available in the fairgrounds park areas. People there are asked to stay in or around their vehicles, and to practice social distancing.

Due to safety reasons, the 12th Street walking trail/baseball complex will be closed that evening. The fireworks will begin at dusk.

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Don’t forget there were to be two free dumpster sites available Saturday for disposal of unwanted items. These will be the next-to-last ones disposal opportunities of the season.

The dumpsters were to be at Todd Kelly Trucking in Washington Lands, and at the community center in Graysville from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Items which not be accepted will be tires, white goods, scrap metal, car parts, fuels, hazardous chemicals/materials or household goods.

Jim Cochran can be reached by e-mail at bugs52@comcast.net.

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