Bethlehem Tired of Dumping, Vandalism at Ball Field

Village Ballfield, along W.Va. 88 in Bethlehem, was recently the site of vandalism and illegal dumping. As a result, village officials are considering gating the entrance to the ball field parking area. Photo by Scott McCloskey

BETHLEHEM — Following incidents of vandalism and illegal dumping at Village Ballfield, village officials are looking into the cost of permanently gating the entrance to its parking lot.

Village Council members agreed during their Monday meeting to allow Mayor Tim Bishop to look into the cost of putting a gate on the parking lot, which sit along W.Va. 88. They did so after Bishop detailed the dumping and vandalism village officials found.

According to Bishop, someone dumped approximately 30 bags of garbage in the dugout, concession areas and parking lot.

He said he believes the village is now in what he considers to be the unfortunate position of having to keep people out when the ball fields are not being used.

“It was bad,” Bishop said. “It’s just such a shame that this is an area that kids use.”

The village has a surveillance camera on the parking lot that normally would have caught the activity and possibly led them to whoever dumped those garbage bags, but officials are out of luck. Bishop said he does not know who did it because the camera was damaged, too.

He said several coaches discovered the problem when they recently arrived at the site to use it. They reported that the field was in bad condition with trash scattered not only in the parking area, but also in other areas.

The mayor told council he will obtain an estimate of the necessary fence and gating supplies to block off the entrance to the fields and report the cost during a future council meeting. He said if council approves the purchase of those materials, the village will provide a key to every coach who requires access to the field.

Ohio County had a recycling program set up with large bins at the rear of the parking area, but that program ceased more than a year ago after trash dumping became an issue at the site. While an old recycling sign is still posted at the site, a “No Dumping” sign also is posted near the entrance.

In other business, Village Recorder Steve Gulajski said the cost to repair a land slide near Memorial Park came in well under budget. The village paid Savage Construction $159,014 to fix the 100-yard-wide slip just below Oak Circle Drive. The repairs occurred during a period of several months.

In a related matter, Bishop said an estimate to repave damaged areas of path below the slip, including repaving Community Park Road, came in at $58,000. He said the village plans to ask the Ohio County Commission for assistance with that project before moving forward with it.

The next regular Bethlehem Council meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20.