McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord has received permission from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to spend $17,500 to brighten the dimly lit Cat Walker Field to increase its use.
The measure passed 7-0 with Mayor Jimmy Haley, Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Aldermen Mike Neal, Jimmy Bonner, Ryle Chastain, Steve Harvey and Everett Brock voting in favor.
McCord asked permission from the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee last month to take money from his existing budget and improve the lighting situation.
“We have one ball field that does not have lights, Pete Holt, and one that only has half lights, Cat Walker Field,” said McCord. “I approached (MES employee) Ralph Dunn about what if we just put new lights up on Cat Walker? We’ve got the poles. We’ve already got light fixtures on. He said no one had ever approached him about that. He looked to see how many lights we needed and he came up with $17,500. That will get us fully lighted on Cat Walker.”
Improving the lighting situation will allow the field to be used more. Currently, during the evening hours, the field is only used by younger children that do not venture into the outfield despite it being one of the largest fields.
“Since I have been here, we’ve played 3- and 4-year-old kids that only play in the infield,” said McCord. “It is one of our largest fields. This, basically, will make softball and older kids’ baseball more suitable on the field. Improving the lights will allow us to do a whole lot more on that field.
The lights should be installed by McMinnville Electric System in the next week or so, but they will be owned by the city of McMinnville. Lights for Pete Holt Field will be included in the Parks and Recreation Department’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-16. However, board members have yet to review and approve proposed budgets for next year.