Parkersburg Finance Committee OKs funds for new activity center | News, Sports, Jobs

Finance Director Eric Jiles listens in as Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, right, talks about the GameChanger Program to Parkersburg City Council’s Finance Committee during their meeting Thursday night. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg City Council’s Finance Committee approved $3,341,496 from the American Rescue Plan Act Fund, $3,320,204 coming from funds that have not been allocated yet and $21,292 from funds not needed for the purchase of a sanitation truck, to go towards the $13 million activity and recreation center on the site of the nearly 100-year-old pavilion in City Park.

This transfer now brings the total to more than $4 million towards the center, with $554,000 previously allocated and another $150,000 not needed for street sweepers.

The city has already allocated $3,784,227 to the Southwood Park pool project and $1,750,000 to the renovation of Bennett Stump Field in City Park with funds from the $10 million they received from ARPA.

Mayor Tom Joyce said everyone who submitted an application to receive funding through ARPA and met the guidelines for the funding received some sort of funding. He said a few months ago council allocated $725,000 to local art programs.

“I think that’s important that we’re for local art collaboratives that were funded through council’s appropriation for the non-profits locally,” Joyce said.

The committee also transferred $90,000 into the GameChanger Program aimed at preventing opioid and substance abuse in local schools. The schools receiving these funds are Jefferson Elementary Center, Van Devender Middle School and Parkersburg High School. This would cover the $30,000 apiece needed for each school to participate.

“I’ve had a lot of people say ‘Why would we pay for it if it’s a Wood County Schools program?’ ‘Why wouldn’t we?’ is my answer. To me this is like striking out the pitcher. This is an easy one,” Joyce said. “I don’t know how good GameChanger is going to be, but there’s nothing else out there like it that’s ready to go.”

Joyce said it is cheaper to prevent addiction than it is to treat it and this would help do that.

The committee also put $25,000 to add three shaded structures to City Park, which Joyce said two would be placed by the splash pad and one by the pickleball courts, and for an LED sign for the park to use for events. Joyce said the two-sided LED sign would be placed at the terminus of 19th Street within City Park.

Joyce said right now advertisers for events within the park pound rebar into the ground for signs, they use the 100-year-old sandstone pillars and have even covered up some of the flower beds.

“I just think this would be a little more professional look,” Joyce said.

The committee also added $2,000 to both the Harvest Moon and the Honey Festival, as well as $2,000 to the Wood County 4-H.

“They (Wood County 4-H) said they would use it to send kids to camp,” Joyce said. “Every kid that is enrolled in 4-H is eligible to attend camp, but maybe not every kid has the means to do it.”

Douglass Huxley can be reached at [email protected].

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