At precisely 7:05 p.m. Thursday, West Virginia Power pitcher Buddy Borden threw the first pitch of the 2014 home season for Charleston’s Single A baseball franchise.
The pitch started the 10th season of professional baseball at beautiful Appalachian Power Park, the $23 million baseball complex built to replace the historic but aged Watt Powell Park.
Appalachian Power Park has been a blessing to the city of Charleston and the region.
There was much discussion as to the cost, location, and whether to even build the park, but construction was assured thanks to a collaboration of city, county, business and economic development leaders.
The fan-friendly park did more than simply save professional baseball in the city of Charleston. As a modern, convenient and attractive recreation facility, it attracts visitors to the region and adds a charm that would otherwise be missing from our community.
While the park offers a lot for fans of America’s pastime -- professional baseball featuring South Atlantic League teams, college baseball featuring Big 12 Conference and Conference USA teams, high school baseball through the West Virginia state tournament -- it also offers plenty of fun for others.
Special Olympics hosts the Polar Plunge. The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts events like the World Championship Chili Cook-off and the American Cornhole Championship. Numerous charity walks and other events happen throughout the year, including a safe and well-lit trick or treat.
Country and rock concerts have brought music crowds with nationally recognized bands such as Def Leppard, Randy Travis, Craig Morgan, John Anderson and regional favorite the Davisson Brothers.
Even visitors who aren’t necessarily baseball fans can enjoy the West Virginia Power games, which include fun contests between innings, fireworks shows, a Bark in the Park (for fans to bring their dog), an easy and open concourse for hanging out with friends and more.
Municipal and business leaders didn’t have to work so hard 10 years ago to create an attractive new complex to keep minor league baseball in Charleston. But the Kanawha Valley is a better place because they did.
Thanks to all involved.