For the last several months, the focus of many Hancock County residents has been on the future of Newell Memorial Field and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium.
The two football fields, formerly used by Oak Glen, Weir and Weirton Madonna high schools for their home games, had been declared surplus property by the school board following the completion of new multi-sports complexes.
While the Weirton field was put off to the side because of issues with the school district's maintenance building - also on the property - a great deal of attention went to Newell where residents hoped it could remain in the hands of the community for its use.
This resulted in several purchase offers - from the Chester Volunteer Fire Department, the City of Chester, and reported private investors - one rejected auction bid, accusations of wrongdoing and backroom deals, and even one protest in front of the field.
Now, both fields will be turned over to the Hancock County Commission which, working with the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, hopes to be able to market the properties for business growth.
We know this has been difficult for many in our area who simply have been trying to work to make sure the properties will benefit our area. Everyone involved, no matter the side, has simply had what they felt were the communities' best interests in mind. We hope everyone can keep this in mind and take this time to heal. We cannot move forward, after all, if everyone is working against each other.
We also urge the county commissioners and the BDC to take this opportunity to open your doors to our residents where these properties are concerned. Keep them as informed as possible about plans, and even include them to see what uses they would like to see.
Our area does need community space, but it also needs business development to provide jobs for our area.
Whatever happens, it should be a winning situation for everyone.