Field space for athletics in Jefferson County is always at a premium. Practice and game locations are sought by football, baseball and soccer leagues.
To possibly alleviate some of the strain, more than six acres of land has been committed by the City of Ranson in cooperation with The Freeman Company, have been set aside to provide open fields for use. The land, according to Ranson Parks and Recreation director Jimmy Pierson, will be "open to the public. Anyone can use it."
Pierson said this week that the land is large enough to hold up to three baseball fields or three regulation soccer fields. The fields are located behind the Chick-Fil-A off of Route 9 in Ranson and have, Pierson said, been leased at no cost from Freeman.
The fields, according to Ranson Councilman Mike Anderson, will be a "sand lot" of sorts.
"We all used to play on 'sand lot' fields growing up," Anderson said. These fields will be similar to those types of fields in that no particular type of field will be mandated.
"They will be multi-purpose fields," Pierson said. "Soccer, football, baseball can all be played here" He went on to say that there will be no permanent structures created at the fields including buildings or concession stands.
"A goal in drawing people here is to have them frequent the businesses and restaurants here," Pierson added.
The fields have been plowed and seeded in preparation for some spring activities. According to Charlie Lamp with R&L Landscaping, the area was soil tested to ensure there were no reasons to disallow youth to play. Lamp indicated that he sought assistance from Jay Way with Green Horizons Turf Farm in Kearneysville with regard to field preparation.
Ware gave us a lot of help and insight on how to prepare the fields and change them from what they were, Lamp said. In addition, Mark Kable was instrumental in donating time and equipment to disk the field and plant athletic blend grasses. It is anticipated that the field will need to be reseeded in the spring to ensure adequate coverage; however, it should still be playable at some level.
Parking will be available near the field and the hills of the former dry retention pond will allow for natural seating although it is not being ruled out that bleachers could be installed at some future date.
"We will treat the area as a park," Pierson said. "Those who have an interest in using it for organized sports or practice should call me at Ranson Parks and Rec at 304-616-8998."