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Stadium sale timeline of events

December 3, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

What follows is a timeline of events related to the sale of Newell Memorial Field and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton:

June 19, 2012 - Hancock County Board of Education declares both stadiums surplus property in anticipation of the completion of new multi-sports complexes at Oak Glen and Weir high schools

July 2 - Chester Fire Chief John Hissam sends a letter to Superintendent Suzan Smith offering to buy the Newell stadium property for a "donation" of $150,000, to be paid in three yearly installments. The offer is later increased to $300,000.

July 16 - Smith rejects Hissam's offer, saying she is constrained by a state law that says school boards cannot negotiate with non-governmental agencies.

Aug. 13 - The school board sets the public auction date for both stadium properties for Oct. 5.

Aug. 27 - Sue Thompson, treasurer of the Newell Community Improvement Coalition, tells the school board of the community's misgivings over the proposed sale of the Newell stadium and submits a list of petition signatures.

Aug. 31 - Hissam goes public about the fire department's attempts to buy the Newell property.

Sept. 10 - The school board votes 3-2 to reject Smith's rules for the Oct. 5 auction, including a requirement for a 10 percent down payment and a lump-sum payment soon thereafter. The board also removes Jimmy Carey Stadium from the auction. Thompson attends the meeting and reiterates her objections to the auction.

Sept. 24 - Smith tells the school board the Oct. 5 auction will be postponed.

Oct. 1 - The City of Chester offers to facilitate the sale of Newell Memorial Field to the fire department for $250,000, using money from an anonymous, private donor. The offer dies for lack of interest by the school board.

Oct. 8 - The school board reschedules the auction for Oct. 25 under slightly revised rules and sets the minimum bid at $250,000. Thompson attends the meeting and reiterates her objections to the auction.

Oct. 25 - Auction held for Newell Memorial Field, with only one bidder, Hissam, bidding $50,000.

Oct. 29 - The school board rejects Hissam's bid, saying it was $200,000 too low.

Nov. 4 - Newell businessman Tommy Ogden announces through a local newspaper he would be willing to pay $250,000 for the Newell property and would consult with Hancock County commissioners on how to pursue economic development on part of the property.

Nov. 5 - The City of Chester and Hissam make a second joint offer on the Newell property, saying they would be willing to pay $250,000 up front.

Nov. 13 - The school board passes on the latest Chester offer and reschedules the auction for Nov. 30. Ogden attends the meeting and explains his proposal to the board.

Nov. 19 - The school board postpones the auction indefinitely after meeting with two Hancock County commissioners and an economic development official from Weirton.

Nov. 24 - Protesters organized by Oak Glen High School alumnus Jackson Wilson meet in front of Newell Memorial Field, chanting slogans against the school board.

Nov. 26 - Hancock County commissioners, in a special meeting, vote 3-0 to offer the school board $400,000 for both stadium properties, saying they want to market the land for economic development purposes.

Nov. 29 - Ogden and former West Virginia delegate Pat McGeehan fax an alternative offer to the school board, saying they would be willing to outbid the commissioners, to the tune of $425,000, if the sale were done by public auction.

Nov. 30 - The school board votes 3-1 to accept the commissioners' offer.

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