Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 11, 2014

Citizens want sports complex

Princeton City Council sees support for move to Dean Company building

PRINCETON — A large crowd with many different opinions turned out for the city council meeting Monday evening.

Residents of Princeton spoke out to voice their opinions on the property near Stafford Drive that Richard Preservati, owner of the former Dean Company, has offered to donate to the city to serve as a new municipal complex with recreational opportunities. The property includes a building with approximately 10,000 square feet of office and warehouse space with a 34-acre parcel of land.

Many of the people who spoke were in agreement that a sports complex on the 34-acres of land would be extremely beneficial to Princeton.

“My kids would really benefit from a complex like this, you have to spend money to make money,” John Summers, Mercer County medical examiner said.

Stacy Hicks, CEO of Princeton Rescue Squad, added that he didn’t care where the city offices are.

“We have to have something to keep kids off the street,” Hicks said.

Others want to see the college on Mercer Street.

“We see the college as a benefit to Mercer Street, we know things are going to change,” Greg Puckett, executive director of Community Connections, said.

With a sports complex like this Princeton would be able to host so many different events that would be excellent for the community.

“With an Olympic size pool, West Virginia would actually be able to host the state swim team meets, instead of sending kids to Ohio to compete,” Puckett said.

Another resident, Jim Hill, said, “we need to use this opportunity to grow, this is something we can do to bring kids in.”

After more than an hour of public discussion the city council moved onto other business on the agenda.

A security plan is being put in place by City Manager Elke Doom to help keep not only the employees in the building safe but also the outside of the building secure.

A motion was accepted by the council to move forward with participation in the home rule pilot program. The expanded home rule program affords cities in the Mountain State more power to identify state rules that may restrict their capability to perform municipal duties. It also provides cities greater flexibility in identifying effective solutions.

In other news, the council approved a letter of support for the prepared food tax. A vote of four to three confirmed that a position, beginning April 1, for a community development coordinator will be advertised.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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