Youth baseball can’t pay to develop field

BUCKHANNON – The president of the Upshur Youth Baseball Association appeared before the Upshur County Commission Thursday to tell them that the organization was unable to afford the development of a full-fledged baseball field at the Wellness Complex on Brushy Fork Road.

Jason Westfall said he wanted to give the commissioners an update on the status of the complex, as the baseball association is currently locked into a 10-year lease on it.

“I just wanted to talk to you about some of the things we’re talking about regarding the property,” Westfall said. “To be very frank about it, (developing a field) is very financially out of what we can do. We are looking for a 90-foot baseball field. We have 0 dollars to throw at a new field out there. When I first looked at it, I was full-go.”

Westfall’s attitude changed when he learned that the complex was within that 100-year flood plain, he said.

“The advice I’ve been given with the 100-year flood plain and the amount of stuff we’ve got to do to raise that up, $100,000 was the first amount thrown at me,” Westfall said. “And to be frank, we don’t have $100,000. I’m for our kids – but this property – we’re going to use it, we’re going to mow it, but as far as building and developing it, I don’t see it. We need it for practice fields. I just wanted to let you all know that. We’re happy to partner with (Upshur County Youth) soccer.”

At the Feb. 9 Upshur County Commission meeting, commission members – and in particular, commissioner Sam Nolte – expressed concerns about youth sports not using the Wellness Complex on the Brushy Fork Road.

Commission president Terry Cutright asked fellow commissioners Troy “Buddy” Brady and Sam Nolte whether they saw any problem with the area simply being used as a practice field, and neither did.

Upshur County administrator Carrie Wallace, however, suggested that the commission amend the lease to a one-year renewable lease agreement instead of a 10-year lease. The commissioners agreed to make the amendment.

Nolte said, “We just want someone to use it, that’s our big thing.”

Brady added, “As long as that is used and maintained, I don’t have a problem renewing that lease every year.”

The commissioners also gave Westfall permission to install a port-a-potty in the area.

In other news, the commission:

* Approved a request from Bob Helmick and Bill Wilson with the Upshur County Youth Livestock Association to construct a portable restroom at the Buckhannon-Upshur Recreational Complex.

*Approved the reappointment of Joe Malcolm to the Upshur County Building Commission for a five-year term, which will expire Nov. 10, 2021.

*Approved the donation of pool passes to the Youth Environmental Program to serve as prizes for the Make It Shine Youth Challenge March 19.

*Approved the donation of pool passes to the Rock Cave PTO, Inc. for their spring bingo fundraiser to be held May 7.  Money raised will help fund enrichment activities, including field trips and in school events, provide a yearly scholarship and update playground equipment.

*Approved, reviewed and signed a professional services agreement between the Upshur County Commission and Region VII Planning & Development Council to obtain GIS professional services to assist with the telephone conversion portion of the addressing and mapping project. The project will be complete no later than Dec. 31, 2017 and will cost $10,000 to be made in two payment installments.

*Approved the employment of Loretta L. Koone as part-time seasonal groundskeeper, effective March 12. Koone will work 29.5 hours a week at a pay rate of $9 per hour.

*Approved the continued temporary seasonal employment of Seth Blake as pool director for the 2017 season. Blake will begin work on May 1 and will receive $10 per hour until he begins full-time employment on May 14, at which time he will receive a weekly salary of $525.

*Approved the resignation of Jeraldine Kopelov, part-time deputy county clerk, effective Feb. 22 and also approved the request to advertise for a full-time deputy clerk bookkeeper. Salary will be based on experience and education, and applications will be accepted through the close of business on March 27.

*Approved the employment of Jessica Ann Foster as full-time deputy circuit clerk effective March 13. Foster’s rate of pay will be $9 per hour.



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