ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Memorial Park is facing hard financial times and a possible shutdown and the board is asking voters to consider a new operating levy on the ballot this Election Day.
Park Manager Bruce Moynihan reported that the park's operating funds are totally depleted. He said the funds, which have been used to pay the park's bills, come from pool passes and admissions, shelter rentals, and the majority from local government funds from the county. With the depletion of local government funds, the park is facing the real possibility of closing its gates.
Moynihan noted the scarcity of funding sources.
"Memorial Park is owned and operated by the St. Clairsville/Richland Township Memorial Park District, not by St. Clairsville or Richland Township," he said. "We receive no funding from either."
Funds are used for utilities, pool chemicals, grass cutting, fuel and equipment.
"The pool barely pays for itself. It's a service to the community," he said.
He noted that seven years ago local government funds provided $35-$40,000, while this year the park will received $8,000.
The levy would generate a quarter of a mill, which means a home with an evaluation of $150,000 would pay an extra $11.48 yearly, or $9,46 with a homestead.
He added that the entire community uses the park for a variety of activities from dog walking to community gatherings, year-round. The park is a source of recreation and relaxation for residents from students through to senior citizens. The park employs close to a dozen local students as lifeguards part time, as well as two groundskeepers.
Moynihan added that should the levy not pass, the park would not be able to cover liabiltiy insurance and be forced to immediatly close the gates.
"If it's not passed, I don't know where the park is heading."
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