Local community pools drying up

POWHATAN POINT is the latest community in jeopardy of not having its pool open for the summer. At Tuesday’s village council meeting, it was reported that pool-related expenses have become too prohibitive.

Martins Ferry flirted with a similar scenario this spring, but several fundraisers have generated sufficient funding to buy the needed chemicals to open the facility. It will operate this season but there are no guarantees for the future.

Shadyside’s pool was closed for a few years before reopening two summers ago. Bellaire’s plight, meanwhile, is tragic as the pool was not only shut down years ago, but has been filled in and has come back to life as a softball field.

Allen Pool in St. Clairsville’s scenic Memorial Park was teetering on the brink of extinction, if not for levy approval earlier this month. That would have been a tragic occurrence.

I must commend Benwood officials. They committed $42,000 to upgrade the city’s swimming pool. That is money well spent, with so many surrounding communities closing theirs.

The Benwood renovation included two new sliding boards, a 12-foot diving board, a 3-foot diving board and a rock wall. The pool also will be heated.

Funding was raised in several fashions. Some $12,000 was secured from private individuals while another $10,000 came through a state grant. Consol Energy also donated $8,000.

The pool is the heart of recreation in the community, and Benwood officials realized that. They deserve praise for being aggressive in making the facelift a reality.

The Powhatan Point pool, meanwhile, is in dire need of painting and concrete work in order to open. The price tag has been estimated at $7,000.

Part of the problem is the pool is under the auspices of a park district, which has seen its funding allocations greatly reduced.

As a member of the Bellaire Park Board, I can attest to a major reduction in such funding.

Mayor Mark McVey is calling a meeting of the minds to map possible plans. Options, however, may be scarce. It would be a shame not to have the Powhatan pool open, as it is a nice facility, serving hundreds in the area.

It sounds to me that generosity — from both public and private sectors — may be needed to make the opening a reality.



THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon meeting Tuesday at the recreation center.

Executive Director Dorothy Powell reported that the Academic Awards Banquet was again a big success. Several members present remarked on how well behaved the students were this year.

Councilmen Chris Cleary and Rob Duncan gave the report for the city.

Cleary noted that traffic signal work on Ohio 7 was progressing while ODOT has pushed back the turn lane for the Hanover Street intersection back to 2016 due to funding issues.

He also discussed the upcoming Picnic in the Park planned for June 8. He said the list of entertainment and activities continues to grow. One of the new features is a pie-eating contest featuring local celebrities such as Police Chief John McFarland, Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland and Safety Director Bill Suto.

Cleary added a crime watch meeting is slated for June 12 at the Legion.

Duncan said the city is cracking down on litter. A city cleanup is scheduled for June 15. He added that the pool is ready to open and the development of the RV Park is progressing.


IN KEEPING with a commitment to local missions, the Bellaire Presbyterian Church is gearing up the for its school supply mission to benefit ‘Students in Need’ at the Bellaire Elementary, Middle and High schools for the 2013-14 school year. The church is collecting school supplies and monetary donations during the months of June, July and August.

The Bellaire Presbyterian Church has designated 50 percent of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and 40 percent of the Pentecost offering as seed money for this mission. If you have any questions or would like to obtain a copy of the supply lists please contact Leigh Ann LaRoche at 740-671-9488 or email leighalaroche@ aol.com.

Please make checks payable to the Bellaire Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 322, Bellaire, Ohio 43906. Donations are tax deductible. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated by the students and faculty of the Bellaire Local Schools.


FORMER OHIO State head football Coach John Cooper was recently asked “Who is the best athlete you ever coached?” His answer: “I always tell them I don’t know because I had a bunch of great athletes like (Bellaire’s) Joey Galloway, Robert Smith and David Boston, and on and on and one.” Cooper, who coached the Buckeyes from 1988 to 2000, made no bones about the best football player he ever coached: Orlando Pace.

THE?BETHESDA Fire Department will hold its annual chicken BBQ on Memorial Day. Dinner includes chicken, green beans, baked potato and roll for $8; half chicken is $5. Dinners will be ready around 11 a.m. You may preorder by calling 740-484-4573. It’s a worthwhile meal supporting a worthwhile cause.

DR. DAN DOYLE is stepping down as Noble Local Superintendent on July 31. The replacement for the Wheeling Central High product and former OVAC president has been selected. He is Dan Leffingwell, currently principal at Warren Local High School.

THE ST. John Central Boys’ Basketball Chicken & Hog Roast will be held Saturday at West Bellaire Community Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. Cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple. Adults only. Carryout will be available. Tickets can be purchased at Gulla’s Lunch or by calling Kevin at (304) 218-5132.

THE REV. R.J. Leek was at the Ohio Statehouse this past week to give the opening prayer during a House session. Pastor Leek is the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Cadiz. He is a native of Berea, Ohio. A lifelong Presbyterian he attended The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, earning a Masters of Divinity in 1995. In 2008 Rev. Leek answered the call to be the head of staff of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz. Rev. Leek was accompanied by his wife, Trisha and his three children, Claire, Robbie and Chloe.

THE?BELLAIRE?Sons of Italy Lodge is holding a chicken or ribs dinner on?Friday, May 31. Cost is $12 for some of the best ribs and chicken you will ever taste. The dinner runs from 4-7 p.m. The Sons of Italy home is located on?Belmont Street. The public is invited to attend.

MY ALMA MATER — Bethany College — made a wise decision in hiring Brian Rose as its new athletic director. Brian is a 1998 Bison grad and has been the school’s sports information director for 13 years. He is hard-working, passionate with good people skills. Brian will do quite well in his new challenge.

DON’T BE surprised if the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t playing for an NBA title in three years. They have a great young backcourt in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. With the top pick in this year’s draft, Cleveland will likely take 6-10 Kentucky standout Nerlens Noel. Those three up-and-coming stars will be augmented by the return of LeBron James after he becomes a free agent. I see LeBron winning three straight NBA titles with the Miami Heat and then coming home to northern Ohio to a much better supporting cast than when he left to close out his career.

BUCKEYE LOCAL School District voters may be a little confused these days. Voters shot down a levy in the May primary. It was targeted for safety, including the hiring of resource officers. Although the levy was defeated at the polls, the school board Monday, with one member (Joe Zelek) in opposition, still voted to employ a resource officer. I can understand Zelek’s stance.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com