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Construction crews work Tuesday on what will become turf fields at the Shawnee Park Multi-Sport Complex, in Dunbar. The first phase of the project includes the fields for soccer, lacrosse and football, rehabilitating basketball courts, lighting, a 1-mile walking track and an entrance building with concessions and restrooms. It is expected to open July 10.

The city of Dunbar is ready for the new Shawnee Sports Complex to open next week.

Council announced the grand opening celebration for the multi-sport complex will begin at 4 p.m. on July 10. There will be vendors, exhibition games, a semi-pro soccer game and fireworks. It’s hoped that this 127-acre facility will bring more business to Dunbar as youth sports travel teams make their way to the complex. City Recreation Director Bub Jones said the pool will be open and the first 300 guests will have a prime seat for the fireworks display. There will also be $1 hot dogs and entertainment all day long.

The Shawnee Sports Complex is already booked for upcoming tournaments, including three national youth soccer tournaments in 2019 and 2020, which will include more than 200 teams.

Also, Dunbar Mayor Bill Cunningham announced Monday that the city was awarded a $5,000 grant to go toward cleaning up the city.

The grant is coming from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s REAP Program. REAP, the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan, focuses on cleaning up West Virginia. To qualify for this grant, the awarded city must match the grant 100 percent. Cunningham said that the city has had this money budgeted in hopes of receiving a grant like this to get rid of dilapidated and unsafe properties in the city.

“We applied for the grant and within a week, we got word that we would be getting this money,” Cunningham said. “This program really focuses on recycling and litter and unsafe properties, and there are pools of money set aside to aid cities and towns in cleanups.”

Cunningham is hopeful that with this money, the city can clean up properties and potentially attract new businesses to come in and buy them.

Council also approved an emergency item to be voted on during Monday’s meeting. Two weeks ago, the fire department’s communications tower was struck by lightning and has left first responders with interrupted connections with Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatchers.

“Because of how the city of Dunbar sits, the 911 call center does not have coverage in areas like Dutch Hollow and Roxalana Road with their communications towers and the tower we have on the hill fills that void,” Cunningham said. “Our firemen and police officers have total communication over these areas but 911 doesn’t.”

Council approved to pay for repairs not exceeding $3,300. These repairs are hoped to be completed soon.

Council also said that Dunbar and Nitro are moving forward in regard to their shared humane officer. Nitro is responsible for hiring the employee, and once the position has been filled, a schedule will be created that will put the humane officer in both communities five days a week.

Also, council members recognized Dunbar resident Billy Bob Taylor for donating the American flags that are displayed on 10th Street. Council members said they were very appreciative of this donation.