BY ALEX KING
The City of Sistersville's newly formed Park and Pool Board gathered for its first meeting Jan. 21 in City Hall, generating ideas and passing motions for upcoming projects.
FIRST MEETING-- The revamped Sistersville Park and Pool Board and several city officials gather in City Hall for the board’s first meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21. From left to right: David Pancake, Audist Pancake, Mayor Ann Doig, Barbara Vincent, Connie Boyd, Dee Dee Williamson, Chief of Police Ben Placer, City Commissioner Daniel Grimes and Councilman Richard Long.
The following board members were approved at the Jan. 13 Sistersville Council meeting: Audist and David Pancake, Barbara Vincent, Connie Boyd, Secretary Dee Dee Williamson, and Councilmen Richard Long and Mitch Corley. Chief of Police Ben Placer, City Commissioner Daniel Grimes, and Mayor Ann Doig were present at the meeting.
"It's really good to have all of you on the Park and Pool Board," said Mayor Doig. "I'm glad we've gotten started and things can move ahead."
Taking action to hold a "Winter Auction" on March 1 in the Sistersville High School Gym, the board will be seeking donations for that fund raiser. Those who want to contribute items for the auction are asked to deliver them to the high school gym on Feb. 15, 16, 22, and 23. On those Saturdays, Feb. 15 and 22, items may be dropped off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; on those Sundays, Feb. 16 and 23, items may be dropped off from 2-4 p.m. Those who would like to contribute but need their donations picked up can contact David and Audist Pancake at home by calling 304-652-1023, or at their business Making Miracles by calling 304-652-4185.
Those attending the March 1 auction will be able to view the items starting at 10 a.m., and bidding will begin at 11 a.m. Food and drinks will be available, and all proceeds will go toward park and pool needs.
When asked about the camera surveillance system set up in the park, Chief Placer explained how many cameras there were, where they were located, and the various uses they can and have served.
"All directions are covered," he said, stating that he would like to add another camera in order to cover even more ground. "I think overall the cameras have been effective."
Chief Placer said that the cameras are visible, have infrared capabilities at night, and can be monitored from his phone. He said that Sistersville officers have access to the cameras at all times via tablets and smart phones.
It was noted that, while officers will allow activities to extend into the evening, the curfew at the park is 11 p.m.
Councilman Long proposed a coin-activated timer for additional lighting at night. Commissioner Grimes said he has already looked into the possibility of obtaining one. If such a device were installed, the change would be emptied from it on a regular basis.
"If we keep the kids entertained, maybe they won't get in so much mischief down there," said Audist.
"That's always been (Police Chief) Ben's stance on it, too," said Commissioner Grimes.
Regarding the pool, the board discussed what skills they are looking for in lifeguards and a pool manager. In an effort to maximize the effectiveness of pool employees, they would like the manager to also serve as a lifeguard, if possible. These positions will soon be advertised in the paper.
Commissioner Grimes described the painting of the pool's interior as a yearly task, one that is usually handled by city workers. He said that repainting the pool, which was built in the 1960s, helps to act as a barrier and maintain its foundation. The planning commission agreed to absorb the costs of the paint.
David Pancake suggested having supervised inmates paint the pool so city workers can focus their attention elsewhere. Grimes agreed that it would give them more time to complete other projects.
Other pool matters included: purchasing a required handicap lift chair; the need for a new food cooler; the selling of snacks; the use of recycling bins; the specifics of passes; and possible pool parties.
To keep up with the rising cost of utilities, the board voted to raise the rates for renting the high school gym from $18 per hour to $20 per hour. Rates will not be raised for gym bookings made prior to the approved rate increase. Those who rent the gym must sign paperwork before they are handed a key and they will be culpable for any damages that occur during their time there.
Councilman Long mentioned the nets that Tyler Consolidated High School (TCHS) Volleyball Coach Richard Summers will be donating to the gym. He noted the success of TCHS Volleyball and the benefits of a joint program at the gym.
"We're going to get volleyball started down there," said Long. "(Summers) would like to get some games going on and have people watch."
It was also noted that Stan Dennis and the Sistersville Junior Athletics Association take care of the gym when they use it.
David said Matt Quinet, who sponsors 5K runs in New Martinsville and Paden City, would like to host a similar run in Sistersville and donate all money collected to the park and pool. For that purpose, the board is looking at dates in August. Once the specifics of the run are determined, this measure will be placed on the agenda for approval at a future Sistersville Council meeting.
Audist Pancake announced that Beri Fox, who runs Marble King in Paden City, will be donating marbles during Sistersville's annual Marble Festival in September. The proceeds will go to the park and pool.
Other possibilities discussed at the meeting included: holding public tournaments; holding concerts; constructing a miniature golf course; constructing a skate park; establishing a campground; selling concessions during events; allowing summer league basketball; extending ferry hours to accommodate for those attending ball games; and placing coming events in local papers.
Sistersville Park and Pool Board meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held in the Wells Inn on the intersection of Charles Street and state Route 2.
"It's everybody's park," said Audist Pancake, stating that their outreach is to all ages. "If we want a beautiful park, we're all going to work together."