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Details Revealed, Savings Realized on Multi-Million Dollar Addition for The Bridge Given Okay by Council

June 29, 2021
The good news is that barring something unusual, not only will The Bridge Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex have a new multi-use artificial surface field, but it will have the necessary lighting for evening events.
 
The better news?
 
It all appears to be coming in for a little bit less than what City Council was asked to approve at Monday’s meeting.
 
According to Bridgeport City Manager Randy Wetmore, Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth was able to negotiate with FieldTurf for the new field and bring the price range with multiple features under $2 million. That allowed for the installation of lighting through Musco Lighting Systems all what is estimated to be less than the $2.5 that was approved by Council for the project.
 
“You’re looking at about $2.4 million,” said Shuttleworth.
 
Those dollars will be used on a FieldTurf field directly behind the existing facility. It will be big enough to serve as a full-size soccer, football, and lacrosse field. The new field will also have markings for all of the sports.
 
“The staff is very excited about some of the opportunities we’re going to be able to provide with this,” said Shuttleworth.
 
Along with the obvious features is the creation of one corner for use as a baseball field. The design shows a lighter share of green that will distinguish it as a baseball area with base paths accessible for 60 and 70 feet. That will work for youth leagues such as Little League and PONY League, as well as girls’ softball with a portable fence.
 
The home plate will actually sit on the edge of the outskirt of the field. Shuttleworth said along with use by the aforementioned groups, he said it will be ideal for use by Challenger League, which is the Little League division for those facing physical and mental challenges, as a safe alternative in the event weather is bad enough to create an unsafe environment on the regular fields.
 
One other feature was also unveiled last night. Just off the field area, between the new turf field that will be built and the existing building of The Bridge, will be a four-lane, all-weather piece of track that will be utilized for sports performance training. The lanes will be marked 100 yards and 100 meters.
 
“It’s a cushioned track similar to what is at the high school,” said Shuttleworth.
 
While that was the highlight of the formal business, the meeting ended with Mayor Andy Lang presenting gifts to outgoing members Robert “Bob” Greer and Dustin Vincent. Greer was given an engraved piece of glassware and a large bag of mint Lifesavers, which are present in the conference room at the city building.
 
“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve the people of Bridgeport,” said Greer, who then talked about how business is ran by the city. “… We do it correctly, but we do it better than anyone in West Virginia.”
 
Vincent also received a parting gift. Lang presented him with a large piece of turf for his own personal use. He also had parting words of praise for his colleagues.
 
“Everyone I served with had the right things at heart … Hopefully, I did (those who elected me) justice,” Vincent said.
 
Greer and Vincent also talked about The Bridge during their parting remarks, which came after glowing tributes from their colleagues on Council. The members also talked glowingly about the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for The Bridge that was followed by the public grand opening Saturday.
 
According to Shuttleworth, there are at least 2,658 members of The Bridge.
 
Council also approved the May payment to A.M. Higley of Cleveland for work on The Bridge. The general contractor’s May payment is for $75,018.24.
 
The city’s governing body approved the city’s grade/step salary schedules for city employees effective June 11, as well as another payment issue involving members of the Bridgeport Utility Board. The compensation for the members will go from $50 to $100 per month for four board members and an increase from $100 to $150 per month for one licensed professional engineer effective July 1.
 
Council also certified the results of the June 8 election. The meeting began with an invocation by Nathaniel Lutyens with Young Life, while former Council member L.J. Maxey, who represented the Derek Hotsinpiller Fallen Stars 5K, thanked the city for their support during the public comments section of the meeting.
 
More from the meeting in the days ahead on Connect-Bridgeport.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth explaining to Council what the FieldTurf project includes, while the second photo shows Mayor Andy Lang, right, getting a laugh from outgoing Council member Robert "Bob" Greer after presenting him with a massive bag of Lifesaver mint candies as Councilman Jeff Smell looks on to the left. In the bottom photo, outgoing Council member Dustin Vincent addresses his colleagues one final time.