Upshur County Recreation Complex Committee President Mitchell Shaw addresses the Upshur County Commission at its Thursday, June 18 meeting.

Upshur County Recreation Complex still seeking a place to call home, Summer Men’s League ready to tip off

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission received an update on the progress of the Upshur County Recreation Complex and its upcoming basketball league, the Summer Men’s League.

Mitchell Shaw, president of the Upshur County Recreation Complex committee, attended the June 18 Upshur County Commission meeting to talk about UCRC’s mission of giving county residents a place to enjoy sports such as soccer, basketball, football, baseball and more.

“Right now, we are currently in the process of searching for a place that we can plant the UCRC flag and say this is where we’re going to start our roots,” Shaw said. “That has been our biggest struggle from the get-go – finding a piece of property where we can start.”

He said the late Shawn Tucker started the committee with the idea of developing a 100-acre facility that would feature facilities for soccer, football, baseball, softball, indoor track facilities – everything all in one location.

“We would still like to try to do something all in one location, but we’re not fixed to just 100 acres,” Shaw said. “We can downsize if needed, and if we have multiple locations and different areas of the community and different areas in the county, we could definitely use anything that we can get.”

The committee has not had any luck with finding property yet, but they are hoping to find a 10-acre piece of land on which to develop new soccer fields.

“We’re open to it … it could be somebody willing to donate it to us because we are a federal [nonprofit] organization, and anything that would be donated to us would be a tax-deductible donation,” Shaw said. “Our hope is that somebody with a willing and giving heart would be able to say ‘hey, here’s a piece of property … I don’t use it, but with a little bit of work, you can absolutely be able to put some football fields or put some soccer fields right here and start playing.’”

He said once they own some property, they can start applying for grants.

“Right now, there are no grants for what we’re looking for and what we’re trying to build. They won’t allow you to apply unless you have a place that is yours,” Shaw said “Right now, we don’t have anything, we don’t own anything, whether it would be 100-year lease for $1 a year, saying ‘hey we’re willing to give this to UCRC for that kind of a deal,’ or if they’d be willing to donate it to us or if it’s a purchase agreement, and we can pay a little bit – any of those options would be able to allow us to start applying for grants.”

Shaw also mentioned the committee’s upcoming partnership with the Stockert Youth & Community Center to oversee the Upshur County Men’s Summer Basketball League.

“My hope, and my goal before COVID-19 happened, was to make this a feature event for this city and the county,” Shaw said. “This year, 105 players will be playing in this league – that’s from the Clarksburg area, Philippi, the Belington area and then, of course, mostly Upshur County, but there’s eyes and interest in one small sporting event that’s never been anything more than just a pick-up league for 20 years.”

While UCRC struggled to find sponsors at first because of COVID-19, they eventually signed on 11 team sponsors and they plan to take health precautions.

“I’ve already put it out to all of our team managers that after games, there will be no handshaking, I understand that it’s a sportsmanship thing, but if you’re not playing and you’re on a bench, keep apart from each other,” he said. “Do not interact with other teams when you’re coming in – just basically keep your distance from each other, practice safe social distancing as you can, and anybody who comes as a spectator will be encouraged to wear a mask.”

The tournament will start June 29 and run through the month of July, with the season ending the week of July 24 and playoffs will be the last week of July. Shaw also said UCRC plans on hosting the Turkey Trot they started last year in November 2020.

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