ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Memorial Park board is asking the voters of St. Clairsville and Richland Township to renew their tax on November 8 to support continued recreational services.
“This lien is an operating lien and is used to pay employees. It is used for chemicals in the pool, daily operating expenses like gas for the lawnmower and garbage bags for the different shelters.” said Conrad Heydle, a member of the park’s board, adding that it was first approved a decade ago. “At that time, 10 years ago, we were close to closing the park. We had money to build things, to improve things in the park, but we didn’t have money to operate.
“It’s just a quarter-million tax…and it’s a renewal,” he said, adding that the five-year tax brings in about $80,000 annually.
He said a $0.25 million lien would cost $25 for every $100,000 of property valuation.
Heydle said there have been numerous improvements to the park in recent years. Two years ago the two tennis courts were resurfaced and a new pickleball court was installed.
Other additions include an 18-hole golf course and paved basketball court. Five years ago a new wall was installed along Allen Pool when the old one was found to be collapsing. A walking trail was also installed in collaboration with the city.
“The entire park has been paved. We have installed a new smaller playground next to the Jaycee Shelter. We just did that in the last year.” he said, also citing the shelter’s new roof. “Just a lot of other improvements that people don’t really see.”
He said the golf course and pickleball courts have drawn considerable use, and the summer pool season also saw increased attendance.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of people using the park,” he said.
Heydle said that in the future, the board also plans to replace the 60-year-old rusting fence around the pool.
Other plans include renovating the bathrooms in the bathhouse and adding a community room.
“The bathhouse will look completely different to customers in the future,” he said.
There are also plans for new tennis court lighting and new playground equipment.
“We continually look for ways to improve the park for our customers.”
If the tax fails, closure could be a prospect.
“Right now we have a certain amount of levy money that would keep us going for a while, but that money would eventually run out.” he said.
Heydle said supply chain issues have delayed some plans, but there are no concerns about funding if the tax dollars are secure.
“As long as we have the tax and we get that money, we’re in good shape,” he said.