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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Let there be better light at ballfields

Thursday, February 9, 2012

(Photo)
Brick pavers are being sold by the Monett Youth Softball and Baseball League in an effort to raise funds to replace the lights at Monett's North Park.
The Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League (MYBSL) is ready to launch a massive fundraising effort and is in need of community support.

The MYBSL, in cooperation with the City of Monett and the Monett R-1 School District, plans to replace the field lighting system at Monett's North Park Sports Complex.

The current lighting system was installed in phases nearly 40 years ago. The system utilizes wooden poles that need to be replaced. Additionally, the number of poles per field and the energy the lights consume need to decrease.

The MYBSL has obtained a sales proposal from MUSCO Sports Lighting. This proposal is to replace the lighting system on fields 1 through 6. The total cost is around $200,000. This includes steel poles, new energy efficient luminaries and an improved control panel.

"Currently, the only method by which the lights are turned on and off is the breaker panel located between fields four and five," said MYBSL Treasurer Ken Gaspar. "This is a dangerous situation as some of the switches are at a height not reachable by all. Additionally, some switches are difficult to manipulate."

According to the company's website, MUSCO lights contain an innovative design that reduces the number of luminaries needed by controlling the amount "light-spill." This, in conjunction with the energy efficiency of the bulbs, should reduce the amount of energy consumed and decrease operating costs.

The lighting system carries a 25-year warranty that not only replaces the equipment if it were to fail but also includes the replacement of bulbs in the event of a burnout.

"The new system would include a safer, easier-to-operate switching unit," said Gaspar. "Another feature available is online access to monitor and control the system. An authorized person could access the control panel from any computer with an Internet connection."

Additional support

The City of Monett has agreed to invest $100,000 in this project, and the R-1 School district has pledged $40,000 toward the lights.

"The MYBSL appreciates their dedication to the project but also their support of our youth programs," said Gaspar.

Being a part of the lighting project is of great importance to the city.

"The city's North Park athletic complex is a tremendous asset for the community," said Dennis Pyle, Monett city administrator. "It was developed 40 years ago by community volunteers and city employees. Many improvements to the park have been made by the MYBSL, local service organizations and volunteers, so the city is fully committed to matching these community efforts to upgrade the field lighting."

According to Gaspar, MYBSL and the city have worked side by side over the last five years to ensure the citizens are proud of the facility.

"Many of our residents today grew up playing at North Park and have fond memories of their experiences," said Pyle. "We hope that this investment by the city will enhance that experience for their children and grandchildren who now play there."

The Monett R-1 School District got involved with the project due to the fact that the high school baseball and softball teams utilize fields four and six respectively.

"The school is excited about the opportunity to partner with the city in these improvements," said John Jungmann, Monett superintendent. "The school district benefits greatly from the partnership that exists due to the fact that we do not have to maintain our own baseball and softball facility. The new lights are definitely a needed upgrade for these facilities, and we are very willing to contribute since it benefits our programs."

Grant assistance

MYBSL is working with the City of Monett and a grant writer to apply for various grants to help with project costs.

The MYBSL had identified and applied for three grants that would substantially contribute to the amount needed for the lights, according to Gaspar.

1) The Major League Baseball's Baseball Tomorrow Fund. This fund is set up by professional baseball players to assist with various community-related endeavors. Average awards are $50,000.

2) The State of Missouri's Land and Water Conservation Fund. The availability of these funds depends on the state's budget each year.

3) MUSCO and the National Babe Ruth organization. The MYBSL is affiliated with both organizations.

Fundraiser

With a financial commitment of $100,000 by the city and in-kind services being provided by city employees, the MYBSL still needs to raise a little less than half of the total cost of the project.

In an effort to raise the additional funds, the MYBSL partnered with Fund Raisers LTD to produce personalized brick pavers that will be installed at the park. Each paver can be inscribed with nearly anything the purchaser wants.

A larger paver that can support a graphic or business logo along with a message will also be offered.

"Our goal is to raise over $50,000 with this fundraiser," said Gaspar. "We are very excited to see the community's dedication to the utilitarian beautification of the park, with the purchase and installation of these personalized pavers. People will be able to come to the park and show their children and grandchildren what they contributed to the community and the park."

Size and cost of the pavers are: 4" x 4", $100; 8" x 8", $200; and 8" x 8" w/logo, $300.

Replicas can be ordered, so the buyer can have a souvenir for personal display. The replica costs are: 4" x 4" replica, $50; and 8" x 8" replica, $75.

The pavers will be installed in the area along with the city's monument dedicating the park to the community.

"We will be including an order form within a future city utility bill mailing," said Gaspar. "Any individual or business can complete the order form and remit it to the league's mailing address."

To obtain more information or receive an order form electronically, contact Gaspar at 235-1429 or email at mybsl@suddenlink.net.



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