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Outdoor Portion of City Rec Complex Not Ignored as Staff Handles Rebuilds during Clear Weather Period

November 01, 2018
While hundreds of thousands of dollars in earth work continues for Bridgeport’s new indoor recreation complex, the existing outdoor facility isn’t being ignored. In fact, Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth said work is still taking place on maintain the facility as November has arrived.
“We work to keep the existing complex at a peak level as well,” said Shuttleworth.
And that work was going strong this week. With Mother Nature giving the area some sunshine, a break from rain and higher temperatures in recent days, Shuttleworth joined his crew to do work at the facility. The work, he said, was needed and he was pleased with cooperation from the weather.
“With staffing and the complex being so busy during spring and summer months, a lot of the major maintenance such as rebuilds are hard to do when you have tournaments every weekend, youth championships, playoff games and the regular events taking place,” said Shuttleworth. “Add to that the others events taking place and you can be squeezed for time for renovation projects. We got some nice weather and, even though the fields are still wet, we’re taking advantage of it.”
On Tuesday of this week, two projects were started involving the pitching mounds on two of the four baseball fields in the wagon wheel portion of the complex. They were fields one and four, which was the fields with the grass infields.
The projects involved the complete rebuilding of the pitching mounds on both of those fields. Shuttleworth said fields three and four utilize portable pitching mounds.
“The ones we’re working on are more dedicated to baseball,” said Shuttleworth.
His staff was dedicated to repairs as quickly and professionally as possible. Shuttleworth said to fix imperfections on the mounds as the result of wear and tear the areas were shot with lasers to make sure the specifications of the rebuilt mounds would be perfect.
“We want groups to utilize these fields as much as possible because that’s what they were built for, but the groups will utilize them as long as we let them play,” said Shuttleworth. “That leads to the wear and tear and running out of good weather to do this so we’re happy we’ve had the chance and made the most of it.”
Shuttleworth said the mounds are essentially perfect in regard to specifications. He said they meet all requirements for college and high school, as well as Major League, specifications.
“Prior to this project, those mounds didn’t meet those specifications,” said Shuttleworth.
The project, he said, is primarily one utilizing manpower and didn’t require a work order for material. He said a little less than $1,000 in materials were used and the materials were already part of the P&R’s general maintenance projects line item.
A bigger project, however, is also taking place in terms of dollars. This one is a contracted service being handled by Martin’s Turf Care out of Fairmont.
“They’re working on drainage and leveling out all of the fields in the grassy areas,” said Shuttleworth. “This is something we do annually, and we’re also doing at City Park.”
Shuttleworth said the work the company is doing costs $15,000. What it involves on the drainage and leveling is making the fields drain better by working to overcome the natural clay properties – not the best for drainage – that are found in West Virginia soils.
“Natural grass fields in West Virginia don’t drain well because of the clay so this effort pokes holes in the ground, which is followed by putting sand in the soil profile to create better roots and allow the water to escape from the surface faster,” said Shuttleworth. “This is a common process you do if you want to maintain high end grass fields. It’s the same methods you see at places such as Heinz Field.”
Editor's Note: Top two photos shows work being done on fields one and four, respectively. In the bottom photo, a Fairmont contractor introduces soil into the grass surface to help with drainage.