Sports complex gets new concession stand, restrooms

NOW OPEN — The Hancock County Parks and Recreations Board, along with county commissioners and guests, officially opened the new concession stand and restroom at the Gas Valley Sports Complex in New Manchester Friday evening. -- Craig Howell

NEW MANCHESTER — Visitors at the Gas Valley Sports Complex and Playground now have a permanent fixture where they can purchase refreshments and clean up.

The Hancock County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors officially unveiled the Gas Valley Road complex’s new concession stand and restrooms to the public during a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday evening.

The new building includes a stand for local organizations and soccer teams to sell food and drinks during matches and other events, two permanent restrooms and two park benches.

County Commissioners Jeff Davis, Joe Barnabei and Paul “Rex” Cowey were in attendance Friday, along with the parks and recreation board. The concession stand is near the main entrance of the sports complex.

According to board President Guy Holmes, the concession stands and restrooms are a first to the sports complex. The public had to use portable restrooms in the past.

“We’ve never had a facility like this here,” Holmes said. “We’ve always used the port-a-johns to supply people with restrooms, so we wanted them to have upgraded areas to relieve themselves.”

Holmes said the sports complex — which includes three soccer fields and is the most utilized of the parks in the county — is utilized by various soccer teams, and gives the opportunity for the teams and organizations to help with their fundraising efforts.

“You see the kids out here, it’s a heavily used area,” Holmes said. “They play games here five nights a week, and they practice every night of the week. So the restroom facilities defer, really, the costs of renting the port-a-johns, and then this gives them the ability to fill up concessions and help their organization fundraise as well, so it was mutually beneficial.”

The project cost around $160,000, with $62,500 coming from the State of West Virginia Land and Conservation Fund grant, approved by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and the facility was then built by Juszczak Construction of Chester.

Holmes said talks of building a permanent restroom facility began several years ago between the parks board and the county commissioners.

“It started with bathrooms, and then it grew into the concession stands,” Holmes said. “We got the plans approved through the state, we were awarded the grant, and then we started moving.”

During the ceremony, Davis commended maintenance employee Ron White for his efforts in maintaining the complex, and also thanked White and Mark Cooper for bringing the picnic tables to the facility.

Holmes said the parks and recreation board will be partnering with the Upper Hancock County Youth Soccer Association — with which many of the soccer teams practice and compete at the complex are affiliated — for the concession stands, while Davis added that the league will work in maintaining the facility.

“We’re just working hand-in-hand with the soccer league and they’re also try to maintain the cleanliness of this facility because, after all, they’re the ones that’s going to get to use this and them and their children can benefit from this,” Davis said.