WEIRTON – While there are changes awaiting the future of Edwin J. Bowman Baseball Field, it may not necessarily be a site for a proposed public safety building.
City residents gathered in the Weirton Room in the Millsop Community Center, Thursday night, for a town hall in the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation to hear a discussion on both projects.
“We are here to educate you on what we think are two questions,” Park Chairman Edwin J. Bowman said. – There has been no final decision.
For several months, the Weirton Council has been discussing the possibility of developing a new public security building that could serve as the headquarters of the Weirton Police Department. After approving a feasibility study for the project, the council is organizing a working session in September with representatives of Horne and King Architects, which had reviewed 16 sites in the city and identified four as the most viable, including the baseball field.
The park board has opposed the idea and cites a number of planned improvements, some of which will be funded through a federal Land Water Conservation Grant. Some of that work has already been done, including the installation of a new scoreboard and speaker system.
Bowman presented a timeline for the project, noting that he has not yet seen the results of a feasibility study, a cost estimate or a decision on where to fund such a project.
“In my opinion, it’s time to talk about it,” he said.
The proposal for the top shelf from Horne and King would be a 37,000 square meter facility. As part of the Park Board presentation, Bowman offered ideas on how to reduce the size and scope, and offered a suggestion for another website.
For the city, Mayor Mike Adams explained that officials have looked at alternatives and announced that they have already reduced the size of the proposal to 18,165 square meters. That would allow more of the 16 proposed sites to be re-evaluated, he said.
“There are going to be more conversations and more decisions,” In Adams. “As the footprint gets smaller, it opens up the options.”
The council also plans to host its own town hall to review the project with the public, Adams said.
Chief of Police Charlie Kush said he would be willing to answer questions from residents, and even show them through the department’s existing facilities to show them why such a project has been proposed.
“If the residents saw the condition of the police department, they would be stunned,” Sa Kush.
Several citizens also spoke during Thursday’s town hall, and all agreed that a new facility is needed, but most oppose the idea of using the baseball field.
Among them was former city mayor Dean Harris, who recalled some of the city’s previous attempts to establish a new police headquarters.
“We all went to DC to get funding to renovate Cove School,” he said about the work while he was on the city council in 1992.
However, Harris also expressed concern about the possible politicization of the project and said he has heard that it has come up as part of the interview process to fill the council seat in Division 2.
David Connors, a student at Weirton Madonna High School, said he knows there is a need for a new police department, and explains that his father was in the police force for many years, but noted the recreational opportunities the baseball field offers, including Easter egg hunts and youth leagues.
“I think if we take the field away, it’s getting smaller,” In Connors.
Attorney Michael Nogay pointed to the history of the field, and also as a point of interest in the community that connects generations of families in Weirton.
“There’s really nothing left that reminds you of the sequel,” he said. – We need a new police department. We do not need it at Cove Field. ”
Resident Ray Gatjka was the only resident who appeared to be talking about using the field for public safety, saying that while he has his own memories of his time playing and coaching there, Weir High is in the process of planning for the construction of a field. on campus, and he thinks there are other ways for Weirton Madonna’s baseball team.
“These buildings will all be within walking distance of each other,” he said of the prospect.
Resident and business owner John Greco, however, encouraged the city to use the project as a way to invest in a brighter city center, by removing some of the uglier properties for the department.
“Let’s get rid of the fire and build a new police station,” Sa Greco. “Let’s kill two birds with one stone.”
Mayor Harold Miller was also present and said that he is not positive about using the ball field for the project, and that the discussions will continue. No council members were present.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)