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No decision made on soccer field clean up

June 18, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The best way to fix the new soccer field that was closed because glass and metal pieces were coming up through the grass remains undecided.

At Thursday's Morgan County Commission meeting, Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said the written report from Potesta Environmental and Engineering was received and will be reviewed.

Potesta suggested digging up the grass and replacing the 6 inches of soil and reseeding the field. Another suggestion was putting down a geo-tech barrier, putting topsoil on top and reseeding the field.

Morgan County Parks and Recreation acting director Bruce Beadenkopf said he spoke with Rebecca MacLeod for her opinion about fixing the soccer field.

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MacLeod lives in Morgan County and is the Potomac Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Coordinator in Martinsburg, W.Va.

MacLeod said the $8,000 cost for six soil samples that Potesta took was too expensive, and that she wished the commission had asked her for help. She said she could have gotten the soil sampling for much less.

MacLeod said, "instead of jumping into expensive work," that she could have performed the preliminary testing.

"In defense of what we did," Hutchinson said, "we sat down with (county planner) Alma (Gorse) and got recommendations from three sources that the local Department of Environment Protection recommended, and (Potesta) was the least expensive."

MacLeod said she would have had the soil sampling tested at Reliance Laboratory in Martinsburg.

Hutchinson said they did not have that information before the decision was made.

"I wish I knew. I immediately would have called her," she said Friday.

"I urge you to think before you act," before getting a "full-blown assessment," MacLeod said.

"It was not a full-blown assessment," Hutchinson replied. "We went with the least expensive, and it was just a soil sampling," she said.

Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said the salvage yard that was on the property "only had 12 to 13 cars and there are unfounded rumors, but once it gets out into the community, we had to put it to rest."

"I did not know the history of the property and I felt I was boxed in to make sure it was safe for the kids," Hutchinson said.

"I did not want to spend $8,000 either," she said.

Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan said she didn't understand why the commission would purchase a piece of property that had been used as a salvage yard.

Hutchinson said that was before her time, but she thought the cost was too high at $150,000 for 10 acres.

"I totally disagree," Swaim said.

MacLeod said the tempered glass and metal pieces on the field needs to be cleaned up and suggested using a metal detector.

"The main thing is having a safe place for the kids to play," said Morgan County prosecuting attorney Debra MH McLaughlin, who is president of the Morgan County Soccer League.

"I have concerns for liability issues," she said.

"If we ignore reports and just pick up glass and metal, then we'll be liable... if we choose not to follow the (Potesta) guidelines," McLaughlin said.

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