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Improvements planned for Bowman Field in Weirton

WEIRTON — A series of improvements are in the works for an athletic field used by two area high schools and various other organizations.

Weirton parks officials recently announced the receipt of a $122,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to assist with planned upgrades to the Edwin J. Bowman Field, located in Municipal Plaza. The project was discussed in more detail during Thursday’s meeting of the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation.

According to Parks Executive Director Coty Shingle, plans include the installation of an irrigation system and warning track, replacement of the infield and three pitching mounds, as well as the installation of a new canopy over the bleachers.

Other projects will help to bring the field more into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including improvements to the access ramps leading to the stands from the parking lot.

“We’re going to extend the dugouts on both sides,” Shingle said, noting this would allow for additional space for teams and better compliance with ADA requirements.

Shingle explained they had received approval to expend the funds in November, but as a result of weather and planning timelines, it would not be possible to get the work completed before this year’s baseball season.

“The infield refurbishment probably isn’t giong to happen this spring,” Shingle said, noting it may be done in the fall.

The field also will receive a new scoreboard and sound system, the cost of which will be assisted through a $12,000 contribution from the Hancock County Board of Education.

Edwin J. Bowman Field is used as the home field for both Weir High and Weirton Madonna High’s baseball teams. The schools provide funding each year to assist with maintenance costs for the field — $3,500 on behalf of Weir and $1,500 for Madonna.

Edwin J. Bowman, for whom the field is named, currently serves as chairman of the Park Board. He said he recently was approached by new Weir High head baseball coach Dave Cowden concerning the field, and suggested the board arrange for a meeting between representatives of the two high schools to discuss scheduling and any concerns.

“We’ve done this on a pretty much annual basis,” Bowman said.

In addition to the high school teams, the ballfield has been used for games by local American Legion baseball teams and as a satellite location for the Beast of the East tournament.

Shingle has noted one of the requirements of receiving the LWCF grant is the site must remain for recreational purposes in perpetuity.

In other business, the board acknowledged a decision from Weirton Council to provide $500,000 to assist with repairs to the southern wall and foundation of the Millsop Community Center. The board also has been awarded $50,000 from the JC Williams Foundation to fund planned projects.

Bowman recommended plans for a workshop with Weirton Council, Mayor Harold Miller and City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo to discuss parks operations and plans for the future.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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