Residents gather to clean up Weirton Skate Park | News, Sports, Jobs


Craig Howell HELP – A group of local residents volunteered their time on Saturday to help clean up the Weirton Skate Park in the Town Square. The work is part of an effort to encourage community service through the Volunteer – Weirton Facebook group.

WEIRTON – A group of area residents spent part of their Saturday working in the Town Square, with the aim of breathing new life into Weirton Skate Park.

It’s all part of an effort to encourage volunteerism in the community, explained Nick Travis, one of the project’s organizers.

Inspired by his experiences in the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ohio Valley Leadership program, Travis said he connected with like-minded residents and created the Volunteer – Weirton Facebook group, after which someone came up with the idea of ​​renovating the skate park.

“I spoke to the city” Travis noted, explaining that officials had provided funds to buy paintbrushes, trash bags and other materials to help with the cleanup. “They provided the funds to help us get what we needed.”

Some of those who helped on Saturday brought other supplies and equipment, and the work so far has focused on cutting tall grass, clearing rocks and other debris from the surface of the park and removing old peeling paint from railings, while putting on new coats. paint.

“It’s something kids can do” he said. “They have a safe space to relax.”

Another day of work will be scheduled, as the project was not finished on Saturday.

In the future, other volunteers will set up an art project for the park.

“They are going to paint murals to beautify it”, Travis said.

The skate park was originally built in 2009, with funds provided by area legislators, the Hancock County Commission, private donations, and other state contributions.

The project has also been the subject of a criminal investigation involving a former mayor of the city, with the West Virginia Office of the Auditor conducting an investigative audit after questions arose over the use of some of the funds from the skate park. Former mayor Mark Harris was indicted in 2013 for embezzlement alleging the misuse of more than $16,000 of skate park funds. The charges were eventually dropped after Harris agreed to return the money.

There was also a dispute, in 2014, between Weirton Council and Weirton Parks Council over responsibility for maintaining the skate park.

Travis said more projects will be planned in the future, with information found on the Volunteer – Weirton Facebook group, and he hopes others will be inspired to find their own ways to give back to the community.

(Howell can be reached at [email protected] and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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