PARKERSBURG — An ice skating rink and a skateboard park were the top two choices of area youth when asked what activities should be supported by the city of Parkersburg.
The Mayor’s Youth Council of the City of Parkersburg conducted a survey among students at Parkersburg High, Parkersburg South High and Parkersburg Catholic High schools, receiving nearly 800 replies from area youths concerning activities they would like to see in the city.
“It was a significant number of students surveyed,” said Mayor Bob Newell. “And a majority of them said an ice skating rink was one of the major items they wanted to see in the city.”
More than 59 percent of the students surveyed indicated a top interest for them would be the construction of an ice rink. More than 47 percent of the students said they would use a skate park, which has been a major source of discussion for city officials in recent years.
Tracy Hively, mayor’s secretary and adviser to the youth council, said the ice skating rink has been an idea for members for quite a while.
“They recently voted to make that their No. 1 priority,” she said.
Newell said the major expense in the project would come from the required refrigeration unit. The main rink would be considered “portable” and would likely only be up and running during the coldest months of the year, primarily December and January.
However, there has not yet been a discussion of the total cost and how the project would be funded. Those details will later be brought to Parkersburg City Council by the youth council for discussion and consideration.
Other activities that ranked high among students were dances downtown (31.8 percent), a summer movie series (28.4 percent) and dances in the park pavilion (20.9 percent).
The majority of students, 73.7 percent, indicated City Park was the park of choice when it came to outdoor activities.
Many students surveyed also added their own suggestions, including better bathrooms and food options at the parks, both of which are items under consideration by city council for this summer.
Newell said city officials take very seriously the suggestions given by the youth council. The group was created to help city officials determine how to make Parkersburg a more youth-friendly community in the hopes of having more local graduates return to the area after college.
“They will be helping to determine the future of the city,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to help them in this endeavor.”
The Mayor’s Youth Council is made up of about 15 students representing the city’s three high schools. The group has organized a series of activities aimed at getting more youths involved in city events, including volunteer projects around Parkersburg and participation in the city’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony.