Gas Valley sports complex opens structure

NEW MANCHESTER — Visitors to the Gas Valley Sports Complex and Playground now have a permanent fixture where they can purchase refreshments and clean up as well.

The Hancock County Parks and Recreation board officially introduced the Gas Valley Road complex’s new concession stand and restrooms to the public during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

The new building includes a stand for local organizations and soccer teams to be able to sell food and drinks during matches and other events, two permanent restrooms and two park benches for guests to sit.

County Commissioners Jeff Davis, Joe Barnabei and Paul “Rex” Cowey were in attendance along with the parks and recreation board as they cut the ribbon located near the main entrance of the sports complex.

According to board President Guy Holmes, the concession stands and restrooms are a first to the sports complex. The public had to use portable restrooms in the past.

“We’ve never had a facility like this here,” Holmes said. “We’ve always used the Port-a-Johns to supply people with restrooms, so we wanted them to give upgraded areas.”

Holmes said the sports complex, which includes three soccer fields, provides the opportunity for teams and organizations to help with fundraising efforts.

“You see the kids out here; it’s a heavily used area,” Holmes said. “They play games here five nights a week, and they practice every night of the week. So the restroom facilities defer, really, the costs of renting the Port-a-Johns, and then this gives them the ability to fill up concessions and help their organization fundraise as well, so it was mutually beneficial.”

The project’s cost was approximately $160,000, with $62,500 of the funds from the state of West Virginia Land and Conservation Fund grant, approved by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The facility was built by Juszczak Construction of Chester.

Holmes said talks of building a permanent restroom facility began several years ago with discussions between the parks board and commissioners.

“It started with bathrooms and then it grew into the concession stands,” Holmes said. “We got the plans approved through the state, we were awarded the grant and then we started moving.”

During the ceremony, Davis commended maintenance employee Ron White for his efforts in maintaining the complex and thanked White and Mark Cooper for bringing picnic tables to the facility.

Holmes said the parks and recreation board will be partnering with the Upper Hancock County Youth Soccer Association — many of the teams practice and compete at the complex — for the concession stands, while Davis added the league will work in maintaining the facility.