MARIETTA - When it comes to the parks of Washington County, officials and residents alike are on the same green space - they love them.
The green spaces available in the cities and communities offer recreation, rest, scenic views, special events such as car shows, Christmas light displays, educational opportunities and more.
For one Belpre resident, having Howes Grove Park so close to his home means a healthy walk every morning.
Photo by Phil Foreman
Mazzie, 8, and Lacey, 2, play recently in Beverly’s Dodge Park, while their mother, Brandi Petry, 30, of Macksburg, watches them from nearby.
"The doctor told me to walk at least a couple of miles every day for my heart," said Robert Wile, 83, of 1598 Lois St., Belpre. "I have a certain route."
As far as the park itself, it's very well kept up, he said.
"Lots of people use it," Wile said. "There is always something going on up here."
Belpre City officials didn't return calls for comments about upkeep of the park.
Marietta City Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large is chairman of council's lands, buildings and parks committee. He also operates Trolley Tours around the city. He said the parks are a terrific draw for tourists.
"They comment on the lovely, beautiful, tree-filled parks," he said. "Many say they'd like to retire here."
Noland said the state of a park depends on the staff of the park's crews as well as volunteers that keep the parks and the city looking great.
"The city is doing a great job, considering reduced staffing," he said. "Some of the mowing we had to contract out to Wasco Workshop. My long-range goal is to get more citizen groups and volunteers."
LeAnne Ross, 21, and Caliegh Doan, 13, both of Marietta, spent part of their Friday morning shooting hoops at Lookout Park.
"The hoops are kind of off center," Ross said. "Buckeye Park's court is a really nice one."
Trees figure into the plans of Salem Township as it continues to maintain its park in Lower Salem. Salem Township Trustee Tom Fagan said the old playground equipment from when the village hall was a school was refurbished in 2012 and a new piece of equipment shaped like a boat was added. The trustees also plan to replace at least two trees.
"We have some challenges," Fagan said. "We are still doing what we can do with the amount of money that's allocated for us."
"To me, (the park) is kind of a highlight of what the community is," he said. "It's the biggest thing we maintain besides streets and sidewalks."
The village of Macksburg recently was awarded a grant to upgrade its basketball court. The court will have a new fence and a lower backboard for younger children.
"All you read about is how in Macksburg, no one does anything to help and keep kids out of trouble," said Josh Williams, 32, maintenance supervisor. "With the mayor and council helping, we are finally making progress."
For New Matamoras in the far eastern end of Washington County, Patty Martin continues to check every penny that's requested or spent. Keeping vandalism at bay in the parks is also a challenge, she said.
"They try to keep it maintained and mowed," she said. "I think the worst part is trying to make sure people on off hours don't tear up the pool park."
Dodge Park in Beverly is usually seen as one the most popular places in town.
Thad Tucker is a member of village council and chairman of the council's lands, buildings and park and recreation committee.
"We have one of the nicest parks in the area-1 square acre," Tucker said. "We are always working on grants (to make improvements)."
Within the next five years, Tucker said the village wants to have new roofs on all the shelters in Dodge Park and to renovate the restrooms, including making them Americans With Disabilities Act compliant, which he estimates will cost $50,000 to $60,000.
Brandi Petry, 30, of Macksburg, said Dodge Park was nice as she visited recently. She said there is plenty of seating and room to run.
Her daughters, Mazzie, 8, and Lacey, 2, both chimed in with what they thought the park needed.
"A bigger slide!" they said.