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Council looks at park plans

August 13, 2008
By DAVE GOSSETT, staff writer

STEUBENVILLE - City Council and administration officials on Tuesday got their first look at the detailed proposal for renovations at two city parks.

Now they are waiting to find out what the major revamp at Jim Wood and Belleview parks will actually cost.

Representatives from the Grae-Con Construction Corp. met with council and administration officials to discuss the details of the proposed changes for the two parks that will see Belleview Park become, "the gem of the city's recreation facilities."

Article Photos

Dave Gossett
DETAILING PARK PLANS — Steubenville Council members got a detailed look at plans for Jim Wood and Belleview parks Tuesday during a meeting with Grae-Con Construction Corp. officials. Bob Gribben, left, and Rob Gribben, center, listened as architect Timothy Leist of MKC Associates of New Philadelphia explained his final plans for the major improvements at the two parks.

"We are proposing a new sign and entrance to Belleview Park that will enhance the park. We are proposing the new maintenance building near the existing clubhouse and pool area, tidy up the existing restrooms and concession stands and plan to build six new tennis courts that will also meet the standards needed by Franciscan University of Steubenville," Leist explained.

"We are including aluminum bleachers for the tennis court area, two picnic and shelter areas, new fencing for the ball fields, a bocce court and basketball court in the fill area that will be developed for future use," said Leist.

"As far as the proposed hockey rink, we have found other communities use that area for dances, safety town programs, radio controlled car events, and you can flood the rink in the winter and use it for ice skating. The proposed chess and checker tables can be stand alone or placed in the proposed gazebo," added Leist.

He noted the plans for Jim Wood Park include a walking path, improvements to the existing baseball field, new fencing, lights, a gazebo and a splash pad.

"I am looking at timers and sensors for the splash pad area that will automatically turn off the water at a certain time. The sensors would also allow the kids to hit a button to turn the water on for a certain number of minutes so the water isn't running constantly," explained Leist.

Second Ward Councilman and Recreation Committee Chairman Rick Perkins emphasized the need to proceed with the plans in a timely manner.

"You are tentatively scheduled to start construction on Nov. 1. We need the lower ball fields and the tennis courts finished by mid-March of 2009. That's when the Big Red tennis team is starting to practice, and the Catholic Central baseball team will begin practicing on the ball fields," said Perkins.

"I am concerned about this all getting done because I am getting pounded on this getting done on time. If you can speed this up a little it will be greatly appreciated. That lower ball field is a priority for me," added Perkins.

"And we need the ball fields ready by April 1 for Little League," noted Councilman at large Eddie Joe Chanoski.

"We also need to know what all of this will cost. Do we need to consider borrowing money or cutting items from the list?" asked Perkins.

"We are in the process of starting the bid phase of the project. We will try to speed up the pricing work and get a guaranteed maximum price for you by Sept. 12," stated Bob Gribben, president of Grae-Con.

Leist told council and administration officials he has been looking into new turf for the Belleview ball fields.

"What we are proposing is being used by professional and high school teams. It is better than what you have now but there will still be a little dust. That is almost impossible to completely stop," Leist said. "We are including an irrigation hydrant at each field that will allow for the watering down of the infields when necessary."

He noted he also is including a scoreboard at the Jim Wood ball field and can add scoreboards at the Belleview fields.

"That is something I think the city will be able to pursue sponsorship for. We can include the infrastructure for the scoreboards," said Leist.

Perkins said council now will wait for Grae-Con to submit a price list for the upgrade of the two parks while the proposed plans will be reviewed by the city's recreation department.

City Council allotted approximately $3 million for improvements to the city's recreation facilities following the sale of the Belleview Golf Course and University Boulevard green strip property.

Council held three public hearings last year to listen to ideas and suggestions from city residents before choosing Grae-Con to oversee the renovation work.

(Gossett can be contacted at

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