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Martinsburgopoly to raise funds for stadium bleachers

May 23, 2004|By CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

The fake $500 bills in a local version of the popular board game Monopoly may not be worth anything, but the $25 people shell out for the game does have a purpose.

Money raised during sales of Martinsburgopoly will be used to help replace the splinter-filled wooden bleachers on the home side of Martinsburg High School's Coburn Field.

While fans cheering on visiting teams can sit on almost-new aluminum bleachers, fans for the Bulldogs have to sit on the rickety wooden ones.

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Proceeds raised from game sales are expected to raise about a fourth of the estimated $200,000 needed to replace the bleachers, said Karen Sumner, head of the Coburn Field Improvement Committee.

Players who pass go in Martinsburgopoly will pass property squares sponsored by local businesses. Local car dealerships have replaced railroads, while a local oil company and water treatment business are the utilities.

Instead of going to jail, players land "In Court," a corner square sponsored by a Martinsburg attorney.

The game's colorful money features the logo of a local bank.

"It's going to be a real keepsake," said Kathleen Trumble, a member of the improvement committee who also teaches English at Martinsburg High School. "It may end up in a closet, but somebody will pull it out and remember, (and say) 'Remember when Patterson's had an old soda fountain?'"

Some businesses that have sponsored properties plan to have the game board framed and mounted in their lobbies, Trumble said.

"It's a fun way to do a fund-raiser," she said.

The new bleachers will be made of aluminum and have risers. Without risers in place in the current bleachers, a small breeze or errant foot can cause empty soda bottles and trash to fall and accumulate on the ground below.

"You gotta worry about it from a liability standpoint," Trumble said, saying it's possible a child also could fall.

Almost two years ago, the visitors' side bleachers were replaced and for one sports season, that set of bleachers became the home side.

Some people complained, though, arguing fans for the home team should sit on the larger bleachers beneath the press box, where they always had, Sumner said.

Two thousand copies of the game will be available after Labor Day and will be sold at home games, Martinsburg Mall and Martinsburg High School.

The game is being made by a company in Michigan that offers "Your Town-opoly" as a fund-raising device. Ad sales pay for production, with nearly all of the spots already sold, Sumner said.

Anyone can pay $100 as a patron sponsor, with up to three words of their choosing printed in the center of the board.

Sumner, Trumble and other members of the improvement committee are working on a design for the middle of the board.

Anyone interested in becoming a patron sponsor on Martinsburgopoly may call Karen Sumner at 304-267-4042.
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