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Five-Figures Worth of Upgrades Coming to Outdoor Portion of Rec Complex with Council Okay Monday

March 06, 2020
It’s been a couple of years since the new Johnson Elementary School opened in Bridgeport. And it’s been longer than that since the C-Ball and T-Ball fields located on the property now stands were eliminated.
Although the Bridgeport Recreation Complex now hosts two replacement fields on the northern bay of the property, work is still being done to bring those fields up to the quality of the existing main complex of baseball field. Monday, the next step to improve the facility will take place.
During the 7 p.m. City Council meeting, the governing body will be asked to approve a $12,187.50 contract with Findley Excavating Inc., out of Rosemont to help in that endeavor. Findley was the lowest responsible bidder of two firms bidding on the project.
“When those two fields were lost, we had to move quickly to assure the kids would have a place to play,” said Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth. “In the haste that was necessary, we didn’t finish it the way we wanted to, and some amenities were left out. We’ve been adding those amenities, and this is the next part of that.”
One of the past amenities involved adding bleachers. The latest will involve putting a concrete pad on the bleachers in place at the fields.
There’s more to the project than just that. The concrete work will involve sidewalks that not only provide pads under the bleachers, but sidewalks connecting the bleachers to other areas, including the walking trail.
“This will help eliminate wet and muddy situations and provide a safe, paved area for individuals to walk to,” said Shuttleworth. “This will really help make that area look even better.”
The concrete work is one of two new items under the “new business” portion of the agenda for Council.  The other involves approving a Mutual Aid Agreement with the Harrison County Board of Education to provide an alternative source of transportation in the event of an emergency or disaster situation in Bridgeport.
According to Bridgeport Director of Emergency Management John Chapman, the thought process on this has been in place since his arrival. Now, it’s close to becoming a done deal if Council takes the first step needed at the meeting.
“One of the things that struck me and led to this is the railroad going through town. There’s a lot of bad stuff that goes by,” he said. “If there would ever be a derailment, things could go bad quickly. I’ve been working since last summer on this to find ways to alleviate a situation like that, or any other emergency, where we may need to move a lot of people quickly to a safe location.”
That leads to the agreement with the BOE. Chapman said the school board would provide busses and drivers to move people quickly out of harm’s way to a safe location. The city would pay for the bus drivers and, as the agreement stands now, the BOE would provide the busses at no costs.
“The Board won’t charge fees, which is very good on their part,” said Chapman. “If approved here and then by the Board, I would contact Jimmy Lopez, the director of transportation, and tell him if we need 10 busses, or any number, and they would arrive and move people away from the situation.”
Chapman said it’s not limited to a train issue. He said it could be a plane going off the runway or any other type of disaster or emergency – man made or natural.
Even if the matter is approved Monday, it doesn’t mean it’s official.  Chapman said the matter needs approval by the Harrison County Board of Education.
The meeting will also include a pair of proclamations and a presentation. The Bridgeport Lions Club will be recognized, as will the Bridgeport Middle School girls’ basketball team on their recent championship.
The presentation will feature Carmen Tyce. She will speak about the Harrison County Arts and Heritage Foundation.
As for standard items, there will be a mayor’s report by Andy Lang and a city manager’s report by Randy Wetmore. Council can also act on any budget revisions if needed and discussion the Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex if necessary.
The meeting will see a work session as well. The work session begins at 6 p.m. in the conference room beside City Council chambers.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth, while busses parked at the lot behind Bridgeport Middle School are shown below that could be used in an emergency situation if City Council and the Harrison County Board of Education reach an agreement.