by Tamara Pettit

…….If I were a betting person, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to place odds on the “new Weirton Baseball Field Complex vs Edwin Bowman Baseball Field Complex which the Weirton City Council wants to replace with the new Weirton Police Building.   You really have a hard time knowing “who’s on first and who’s on second,” in this situation which becomes more convoluted every day.

…….My Dad always told me to follow the money.   So …do we even know how much the baseball, softball complex at Weir High would cost?   Not at this moment.  The Board of Education has merely voted to allow McKinley & Associates to put the project out for bid to see how much it would cost.  Also being put out for bid are additional classrooms and HVAC repairs at the school.  Board President Danny Kaser has made it abundantly clear that when the bids come back the County may not be able to afford all the projects.  

……..Meanwhile, Board member and Weir High Booster President Rick Gillette is determined that Weir High receive everything he claims Oak Glen has in the way of baseball facilities.   He took exception when the McKinley presentation included alternate additions if additional funds were available.

……..But what about the Bowman field?  It’s been used by  Weir High teams for years and many, including former Sen. Ed Bowman,  say the field is a top-rated field and grant-funded improvements are making it even better.  But wait, the Bowman field’s future is now tenuous.   Weirton City Council wants to build a new police department facility on the field and sent the Board a letter asking them to halt grant-funded improvements to the field.    The Board, whose chairman is Ed Bowman, said no.   And, the improvements continued.

….City Council, however, has not removed the Bowman Field from one of four locations being considered.   The other three being the Weirton Event Center location, the old Kroger Building, and  the former site of Weir High and Weir High Stadium.   I’m told that at one point a Councilperson suggested using the parking lot adjacent to the Bowman Field and was told by Bowman that the area was specified for employee parking in the contract to build the State Building.

…….Meanwhile, plans continue to move forth for an additional field at Weir High.  I believe the Weir High Complex is duplicative.   I know nothing about baseball (or football or basketball) so I have to rely on those who do when they tell me the Bowman Field is first rate.

……But this may be much ado about nothing depending on the funding vehicle.  As I understand it the Weirton Police Department planned to construct the new police department with funds from the American Rescue Act.  Has that or will that be approved by the State?   What will the Board of Education be able to afford when the bids come back? 

….Oak Glen parent Jonathan Pratt had a very valid complaint at the recent Board meeting.  He questioned how the Board can enforce a mask mandate in all school facilities if it is totally ignored at a school event held on school property ?  Pratt’s  son is vaccinated but  not allowed on school property because he refuses to wear a mask.  Pratt cited students at the he Oak Glen Homecoming who were spotted online at the  Newbrough Studio’s photo site.  I  checked and sure enough no-one was wearing a mask and the contact was close in those photos.    A few had masks  visible but they were pulled down around their chins.  I don’t see this is a lacking on the Board’s part, however.  The Board was right to enforce the mandate and should continue to do so until the coast is clear,   It is a failure of  Oak Glen’s administration to enforce that mandate and that needs to be addressed.

…..Looks like rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the kids on Halloween.    The Community House in New Cumberland  continues to serve the town in providing space for many youth activities and from the photos I saw the “C” House looks better than ever.    Members of the New Cumberland Lions Club are to be commended for sponsoring the party for the kids every year.  Don’t know how many years those parties go back, but I attended as a child…even won a prize for the year I went as the Asian Flu.

……Went to the History of New Cumberland to see exactly how old the Community House is.   It will be 100 years old in 2024 and the building is still serving the youth of this community.  It was following World War I, when townspeople saw a need for a community building to host sports, youth activities, dances, etc.    This was prior to the gymnasium being added to New Cumberland School, so proms and graduations were even held at the C House.   The New Cumberland Community Club was formed and stock was sold at $5.00 a share  around 1921.  On July 4, 1923 and July 4, 1924 what is described as “mammoth” celebrations were held in Eden Valley to raise money.   Dinners, bazaars and other events also  contributed to the cause.    Former residents also sent contributions and the largest single contribution came from Dr. Alice Swaney, a former resident.  

….The Community House was dedicated July 24, 1924.  What a good investment those residents made when they stock in the building.  While other structures in the town may be dilapidated, the “C” house is still standing and being cared for while it serves as a valuable resource and a testimony to the resiliency of a community and its people!