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Proposed Shawnee Park multi-sport complex discussed in open house

Plans for the proposed Shawnee Park multi-sport complex in Kanawha County were displayed for the second time Tuesday night. (WCHS/WVAH)

Plans for the proposed Shawnee Park multi-sport complex in Kanawha County were displayed for the second time Tuesday night. While many were excited to see these plans continue others said the complex is unnecessary.

Looking at the master plan for the proposed complex, Travis Walbeck said he only saw one thing missing, and it was a field for lacrosse.

"Our practice field is an old field that's got crabgrass and mud, and it doesn't drain well," Walbeck said.

As a lacrosse dad and coach, Walbeck showed up to the open house, gear in hand, hoping the field designs could work in his favor.

"To get more kids involved would give us the opportunity to potentially have a league here that those girls could play in," Walbeck said.

County Commissioner, Ben Salango explains that Walbeck isn't the only one with that concern and while not all fields can be turf, the grass space was designed to be adaptable.

"The area can be used, particularly the grass area, for any sport, so you can line this for lacrosse, soccer, or football," Salango said.

Others say they would rather the money be put towards fields, already used every day.

"Put the money into other leagues, and let them upgrade their facilities." Nitro Little League President, Ivan Meadows said.

Aside from sports, a large part of this crowd has a personal stake in the golf course which the proposed complex would replace.

"You just show up and play, you play with your friends, play with strangers," Albert Joseph said.

Albert Joseph said he has a lot of questions he doesn't feel have been properly answered.

"Is this needed? Is the right location being selected? Is anything being disrupted is it properly being mitigated," Joseph said.

Salango said the majority of questions he heard Tuesday night were about the safety of the facility.

Dow has agreed to fund an independent chemical study of the ground at Shawnee Park.

"What's under the soil? Is there anything in the ground water? Is it safe to develop here? Is it safe to play here? So, those are the types of things that we're waiting to hear," Salango said.

Before the commission votes on the proposal at their meeting next week, there will be one last chance to ask any unanswered questions.

If the proposal is approved, the decision will not be final until all financing is established and the results of the ground chemical test come back clear. Those results are expected to take about 30 days.


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