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Council scores win for Roush Field in Martinsburg

March 14, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg City Council members stood at the plate Thursday night and hit what Roush Field supporters could call a home run.

As long as Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Trust members follow through with an earlier pledge, Roush Field will always remain a baseball field.

Trust members had indicated they would sell for development two lots, which currently make up parts of far left and center field, if the city did not buy them. Or, Trust officials said last week, the city could hand over $75,000, which is needed to fix the pool at Lambert Park, in exchange for the deed to the entire field.

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Trust officials planned to sell the land to raise money needed for pool repairs.

Before an audience of more than 25 people who favor saving Roush Field, City Council members voted unanimously to set aside $75,000 for pool repairs, put the project out for bid and pay for the work as it is done. In return, council members agreed, the Trust should hand over all of the land for it to forever remain green space.

Roush Field is at the intersection of Stephen Street, Georgia Avenue and Alabama Avenue in a residential neighborhood. Many people remember playing baseball games on the field when it was owned for decades by the Berkeley County Church Recreation Association.

Before asking that the council vote, City Councilman Roger Lewis said that at his last game on the field, he struck out three of the four times he batted.

Nobody from the Trust attended the meeting, and council members stressed that the ball is not in their hands. Trust officials must now act, Mayor George Karos said.

Jim Rodgers, who spearheaded the effort to save the field, said the vote lifts a weight from his shoulders.

"This was the best case scenario," he said after the vote.

Now, he hopes community fund-raisers can be held, complete with a baseball staple - hot dogs.

The field needs some work, including a new backstop, most agree.

"This isn't the end, it's really just the beginning," Rodgers said.

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