ST. CLAIRSVILLE The fate of Memorial Park and Allen?Pool will be decided by the result of the upcoming Election Day. The park board is asking voters to consider several factors before casting their ballots for the proposed new .25-mill levy for operating expenses.
Park Manager Bruce Moynihan points out that the current capital improvement levy may not be used for the purpose of operating expenses. Those funds may only be used for new additions such as a tractor and for construction projects. Also, neither the city of St. Clairsville nor Richland Township owns or is obligated to provide financial assistance to the park. The park does not benefit from income tax, and Richland Township has not provided funds for the park since the capital improvement levy was passed.
In addition, local government funds from the county have gone from their highest rate at $35,000 per year to the current yearly amount of less than $9,000, which is barely sufficient to pay insurance. The park general fund is currently in the red and the only money made by the park is generated by Allen Pool and the shelters and reservations, which is not sufficient to run the park.
"The situation is so dire, the governing board of the park has voted to close the park May 10 should the levy not pass or another source of sufficient funding not be found," said Moynihan, adding that the pool would definitely not operate this summer.
He described the new levy's yearly cost to the average household as less than a tray of pizza, or $18-$20, and asks voters to compare this to the benefits afforded to the community by the park, including recreation, exercise and sports.
"If it's not there, I think there are going to be a whole lot of unhappy people."
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org