The final touches on a 10-year renovation project at Firestone Park are complete and the Columbiana Clippers will kick off the season surrounded by the latest addition.
A new fence now surrounds the field and a new ticket booth stands waiting for fans. A snow fence once surrounded the field, but became worn and dilapidated. Many worried not having a secure fence around the field would allow vandals to damage what the community worked so hard to build.
“I am thrilled. This will be my 20th season and it had just gotten progressively worse over the years,” said Clippers head coach Bob Spaite.
The snow fence is gone and the new look puts the finishing touches on a project that’s been years in the making. Construction started in small steps with a new weight room and lockers and then a new press box.
“The locker facilities, the weight room and the restrooms, extreme,” said Firestone Board Chairman Ron Detwiler. “To be able to upgrade this looks better than snow fence and let’s face it, kids like to sneak into facilities like this, so this is a big upgrade for us.”
The entire project was funded with community donations. Plaques displaying the names of contributors line the fence posts.
“The funding for all of these projects has been through community donations, citizens in our community, businesses, alumni,” said Detwiler. “We did not have to take any funding from the school or the city to do these projects.”
With the project finally complete, Spaite’s team can focus more on preparation for game days instead of field maintenance.
“It makes my freshmen happy because they are the ones that had to put up that rat trap we had put in,” said Spaite. “They are the ones pounding the stakes and putting zip ties on and then every Monday put more zip ties on after it was broken down. So, my freshmen are ecstatic.”
The fence and ticket booth may not be the end of the stadium upgrades. Talks have begun on upgrading the track as well. Detwiler said as long as the community continues to donate, upgrades to the entire park will be considered.