BOE Uncertain On Football Field Use

A decision by the McMechen Zoning Board last Wednesday has left Marshall County School officials uncertain about what to do with the Union Football Field property.

The Marshall County Board of Education wanted a zoning change, from residential to commercial, so it would be able to sell the property to Shelly and Sands Inc. to allow them to expand its business.

Superintendent Fred Renzella said, “We don’t know what we are going to do.” He said Shelly and Sands, which operates on adjoining property, “just wanted the zoning change to store material. It’s in the floodplain. It’s of no value to anyone now.”

Marshall County Assessor Chris Kessler, who is a McMechen resident and member of the Zoning Board, pointed out four of the five members of the zoning board were present for the meeting. He said about 20 to 25 residents, from the area around the field, came to the meeting to voice their concerns.

“I was initially in favor of the zone change,” he said, “but all these people had concerns and not one person spoke for it, so they changed my mind.”

According to Kessler, citizens were concerned about noise, smoke, smell, and truck traffic. He added others had issues about “quality of life” in the area. “The residents were upset. They had legitimate concerns. They were able to sway the board to the wishes of the neighborhood.”

He continued, “The wishes were for it to stay residential. We just didn’t think the school board was doing what was in the people’s best interest. I didn’t want to disregard the concerns of that many people and I believe other members of the board felt that way too.”

Residents claim they would like to have the property returned to the city for recreational use such as a ball field or park.