McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord is seeking to brighten the dimly lit Cat Walker Field to increase its use.
“We have one ball field that does not have lights, Pete Holt, and one that only has half lights, Cat Walker Field,” said McCord, to members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
Previous attempts to rectify the lighting situation have been met with resistance from board members due to the $97,000 price tag on new poles, new lights, labor and installation.
McCord has found a less expensive alternative.
“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. It will allow us to do a whole lot more on that field. That’s a huge savings. Maybe sometime down the road, maybe five or 10 years, we might replace with concrete poles, but as of right now, I don’t think we need them.”
Aldermen Steve Harvey voiced approval for the lights as a way to improve the field by stating, “I know that field is barely playable at night. At nighttime, it’s not good at all.”
McCord says during the evening hours, the field is only used by younger children that do not venture into the outfield.
“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.”
Alderman Everett Brock asked McCord who would own the lights and who would change them out when needed?
“We would own the lights and we would probably have them come change them out,” said McCord. “We don’t have the equipment. That’s what we do on all other poles. I do have another quote. If MES were to install new poles and new light fixtures, the cost would be $1,028 per month for the life of the items. That’s if we want to rent them. We don’t want to go that direction.”
McCord has the money in his current budget for this field. He plans adding the cost of lighting Pete Holt Field in the 2015-16 fiscal year budget. However, board members have yet to review and approve proposed budgets for next year.
Committee members Harvey and Aldermen Ben Newman and Jimmy Bonner approved the request. The measure will be sent to the full board for its approval. If approved, lights will be installed in a couple of weeks.