Field of upgrades
Highlands TodaySEBRING - Max Long Recreational Complex baseball fields are getting an uplift.
Published: June 19, 2012
Published: June 19, 2012
New aluminum dugouts are being built and new bleachers are being brought in for six baseball fields at the Sebring sports facility.
On May 1, the Sebring City Council approved an interlocal agreement with Highlands County and agreed to pay one-third, up to $57,700, for certain renovations there.
The city, the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, through its Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, and Youth Baseball of Sebring, better known as Sebring Dixie Youth Baseball, will fund the total project at a cost of up to $173,100.
"They're pouring the concrete slabs for the dugouts today," said Bob Hoffman, assistant city administrator, on Friday. The three slabs they poured were completed at about 8 a.m. Friday, and workers were there putting together forms for 21 more.
There is a sense of urgency to get it done. Youth Baseball is holding tournaments starting in July, Hoffman said.
In addition to the new dugouts and bleachers, a backstop on one field is being expanded to look like the others, said Andrew Bible, Youth Baseball of Sebring treasurer.
The fields are used for league play about 10 months out of the year, he said.
"The fields are in pretty good shape," Bible said. "Volunteers are working to spruce them up, getting them ready for the tournament. Mark Hopkins (golf superintendent) is doing a great job keeping the fields nice."
Youth Baseball has been raising funds for this project for the last three to four years, Bible said, through fundraisers, general revenue and tournament play.
"The project has been on the docket for quite a while," he said. "We're glad to see it getting here.
"We used the same concept in the beginning of 2010 to renovate two smaller fields. They're regulation for 12 and under."
Last summer, the league put new sod on the old softball fields where adults played and turned them into baseball fields, Bible said. Adult softball is held at the Highlands County Sports Complex next to Sebring High School.
On June 5, City Finance Director Mike Eastman requested a budget amendment to bring forward the fund balance for improvements and renovations.
Actual tournament action will begin July 6 with opening ceremonies; AAA play for the 9- and 10-year-olds starts July 7; the 11- and 12-year-olds in Ozone play the same day.
The following week, the 13- and 14-year-olds play, with opening ceremonies on July 13, and play starting on July 14 for boys baseball.
At tonight's city council meeting, city staff will ask the board to OK a low bid from GT Grandstands/Dominica Recreation Products for the eight bleachers. The bid quote for the 15-foot-wide bleachers is $2,180 each, for a total of $17,440.
Staff will also ask the council to approve buying 21-foot players' benches from American Park and Recreation at $240 each, for a total of 12 benches for $2,880.
The council will also consider installation and materials for 12 aluminum roofs, 12 dugouts and eight bleachers on multiple ball fields. After one bidder withdrew, staff will recommend Trinity Development/Hawk Enterprises Inc.'s quote for $59,836.
In order to give local contractors preference, staff will recommend E.O. Koch Construction's bid for the chain-link fencing. Koch submitted a quote for $40,706.16. The difference from the other bidder, USA Fence Co., was $369.06.
This should provide shade for players and spectators and some protection from foul balls, Bible said. A future project will include netting along the sidelines as well as overhead behind each backstop.
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