Appalachian Power Park
Charleston, West Virginia
Year Opened
2005

Current Team
West Virginia Power

Affiliate
Pittsburgh Pirates

League
South Atlantic League

Capacity
4,500

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium B+ Atmosphere B+ Concessions B

Photos taken in 2005
After visiting Watt Powell Park in 2001, I commented that Charleston was one city that I wouldn't mind seeing replace their old park. In 2005, that finally happened with the opening of a new downtown ballpark, Appalachian Power Park. It is located west of the capital among some abandoned warehouses (which may eventually turn into loft apartments or other businesses) and right next door to the city hospital. Despite being in the downtown, it doesn't really fit in too well due to a very low structural profile. The one part of the exterior that does stand out is the old warehouse that was restored and houses the ticket office, clubhouses, and batting cages (which have windows to the street). The interior of the park follows the familiar new park template - a large wraparound concourse circles the park and allows for unobstructed views from every angle. The concourse is very wide and spacious (maybe too much so !), but unfortunately has no covering as of yet. Supposedly an awning will be erected to provide some covering over the 3rd base concourse area, but as of June '05 only the supports were there. The luxury boxes, instead of being stacked on top of the concourse, were built on top of the 1st base building which houses some concession stands and bathrooms. Because of their location, they sit back from the field quite a bit and are less obtrusive than in other new parks. The seating here is all close to the field as the grandstand is no more than 15 rows high. Fold down box seats comprise the majority of the seating, while small bleacher sections are located down each line and behind the outfield fence in right field. Also, to show they haven't forgotten about Watt Powell Park, they brought over two rows of seats from the old park and installed them behind the left-center field fence, directly under the scoreboard. Picnic areas are located in the left field corner and in center field. In addition, a few picnic tables are setup along the back of the seating areas which anyone is allowed to use. For a new park, the selection of concession items seemed a bit sparse. There were a few tasty grill items like burgers, sausages, and philly cheese sandwiches, but no regional offerings can be found. The quality of food seemed good and the prices reasonable. Overall, I liked the park quite a bit, but I did have one complaint. As with many new parks in their first year, the PA system was cranked way too loud. You could hardly hear yourself talk when the music was blaring. Fortunately, the music and sound effects were kept to a minimum during the innings. The team has 5 mascots (!), but only two were on hand the night I attended. Only a few between inning games were performed and surprisingly none of them were race the mascot, dizzy, or sumo wrestling. Instead they did an obstacle course race, a closest to the pin contest, and a HR hitting contest. Despite the loud music, the atmosphere is actually pretty laid back. Appalachian Power Park doesn't break any new ground, but does have some unique features and is a vast improvement over Watt Powell Park. Hopefully the team will get some covering installed and will turn down the music, both of which will make this an even better place to take in a game.
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