Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, May 15 newspaper on Page A1.
NELSONVILLE — Hocking College is seeking to use Polley Field in Nelsonville as a site for the Hawks football team’s home games.
Hocking College President Betty Young made that request to City Council members on Monday evening as part of a broader dialogue of having the college and city serve as closer partners, particularly on the subject of local recreation.
The request follows Hocking College’s recent purchase of an old railway depot near Polley Field, located off of Watkins Street. The college has plans to use the building as an athletic facility and as a home to for the new sports management program.
Due to the building’s proximity to Polley Field, Young said the college is hoping to share in the use of the fields. She said the college wants to contribute to park improvements, including field reconditioning, raised stands and an electronic scoreboard.
Since its founding season in 2015, the Hawks have played at Boston Field at Nelsonville-York High School. The team practices on a field on Hocking College’s campus.
A citizen in attendance at Monday’s Council meeting asked Young why the college is interested in improving Polley Field, instead of the field on Hocking College’s campus. Young said it isn’t an “either/or” situation. She said the college will continue to invest in its own facilities as well as facilities that will benefit the Nelsonville community.
She suggested the sports management program could offer a youth league for area children, and the location near Polley Field would aid with that goal.
Council member Taylor Sappington told Young that he would like the college to ensure that the field’s character is not compromised, noting its legacy and character as a family park with local history.
He also asked how the field’s use would be shared with groups like the Little League, which Sappington said have been the main caretaker of the field for the past few years. He proposed that the Parks and Recreation Committee oversee any improvements or work done to the field, so a single entity can keep track of changes.
Council member Dottie Fromal, who is chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee, said she would like to be better informed about what Hocking College is doing within the city.
Dan Sherman, the president of Council, asked
Young to put the college’s proposal in writing and send it to city officials.