NEW CUMBERLAND - Two months from now, Newell Memorial Field will look a lot different than it does today.
On Thursday, Hancock County commissioners agreed to solicit bids for the purchase of the bleacher sections and other related field equipment on the stadium property. Commissioners want to clear the 4.25-acre site on state Route 2 so that it can be used for economic development purposes.
Commissioners bought the Newell stadium, and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton, in December from Hancock County Schools for $400,000. Since then, they have discussed ways to dispose of the buildings and equipment on the properties, settling on a series of sealed bid packages.
In March, the county sold the Weirton visitors' bleachers to Buckeye Local Schools, of Dillonvale, Ohio, for $15,002. In April, the Weirton home bleachers were sold to Edison Local Schools, of Hammondsville, Ohio, which submitted a bid of $20,000.
"The bottom line is we're trying to generate funds from the surplus property," Commissioner Jeff Davis said. "Instead of doing it in the form of an auction, we're just taking bids."
The Newell sale has been divided into five separate packages:
Visitors' side bleachers;
Home side bleachers;
All other field equipment (fencing, scoreboard and lights);
The press box, which sits atop the visitors' bleachers; and
All of the above.
Bids will be accepted until noon May 31 and will be opened at 2:30 p.m. that same day. Awarding of the bids will be done at 2:30 p.m. June 6. Commissioners said they will accept the highest bid for each package but reserve the right to reject any or all bids.
The bleachers and related field equipment must be removed by June 30.
Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said a separate bid package will be advertised later for the demolition of the restrooms and the concession stands at Newell Memorial Field. The concrete bases for the bleachers also will have to be demolished, he said.
The bids packages will be published in local newspapers on May 9 and 16. Swartzmiller said he also plans to post the bid packages, including pictures, on craigslist.org.
"You can reach a lot of people through craigslist. Who knows? There might be someone in Ohio or Pennsylvania who might see that and want it," he said.
Complicating the demolition process is the presence of the war memorial on the stadium property.
Built as a war memorial in the late 1940s, Memorial Field has two brick pillars that bear the dates 1917-1918 - for World War I - and 1941-1945 - for World War II. A bronze memorial plaque affixed to the right pillar contains the names of two Newell natives who died in World War I and 25 who died in World War II.
Commissioners have been in discussions with the leadership of American Legion Post 114 in Newell on the proper use of the memorial.
Commander Robert Pope said one option is removing the plaque and mounting it at Post 114.
"Whatever they want us to do, we will do," Swartzmiller said.
Bids may be dropped off at the Hancock County Commission office on the third floor of the Hancock County Courthouse, or they may be mailed to: "Stadium Bid," Hancock County Commission, 102 N. Court St., P.O. Box 485, New Cumberland, WV 26047.
Also Thursday, commissioners:
Hired 14 people as summer help;
Reappointed Rick Smith to the Hancock County Health Board;
Approved the activation of the newly redesigned Hancock County website on or before May 15;
Approved the purchase of 10,000 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition ($4,500) for training purposes for the Hancock County Sheriff's Department's Special Response Team;
Approved the purchase of a foregrip weapon sight for $550 and an LED foregrip light for $692, both for the sheriff's department.
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