Munhall officials discuss field repair, naming rights
Munhall officials are thinking about selling naming rights to Mayor William Knight Memorial Field, also known as West Field, in an effort to repair and revitalize the aging baseball facility that once served as home field for the Homestead Grays of the Negro leagues.
Council vice president Rob Falce said during Wednesday's meeting that the idea was generated during a budget meeting and needs further discussion.
“It's always going to be William Knight Field but we're looking to make some money,” Falce said. “Instead of (calling it) William Knight Field, it would be ‘William Knight PNC Bank Field' or ‘William Knight UPMC Field.'”
Falce said he would like to see a company sign a five-year contract and hopefully put money into upgrading the field, which is used by the Steel Valley High School baseball team, the Steel Valley Midget Football Association and other youth organizations.
“I think it's the main place in this borough that is very marketable for us that somebody may want to get involved with,” he said. “Then somebody may want to help us fix it, put some money in there and make this field something we can be proud of again.”
Mayor Raymond Bodnar opposes the idea.
“I disagree completely with naming that field anything but Mayor William Knight Memorial Field,” Bodnar said. “It's a memorial field. It's not an advertising surface.”
Rick Brennan, a candidate for borough council, said he respectfully disagrees with Bodnar.
“Mr. Knight was a great mayor and everyone loved him, but this is 2013 and West Field is falling apart,” Brennan said. “We've got to start doing things to bring people into our town who want to live here and have their kids on that field.”
Brennan suggested the borough reach out to Major League Baseball to see if there's any interest in restoring the Negro leagues landmark.
“(MLB) has programs where they'll spend money on fields,” he said. “They have the money there, but you've got to apply for it.”
Although Falce intended to make a motion to authorize advertising the naming rights, council and interim manager Tim Little recommended waiting until more details could be ironed out.
Falce said the issue would be discussed at the Oct. 29 budget meeting.
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or firstname.lastname@example.org.