Improvements under way at city park

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By Jimmie Earls



Springfield Public Works Supervisor Glenn Mattingly told the city council Tuesday that workers have been taking advantage of the nice weather to commence improvements at Idle Hour Park. On the ground, work is being done to expand and remodel the concession stand, while in the air, the lights on the two upper fields are being completely rewired and bulbs are being replaced. The city hopes the improvements will provide a better atmosphere for everyone who uses the facilities.

“We’re just about done with the initial part of the lights,” said Mattingly. “There are a few ballasts that need to be put in.”
“We’ve got one field ready and he’s working on the second one,” said councilman Paul Borders, who is also on the Idle Hour Park Board. “He says we need ballasts, but we can’t afford all of them.”
Springfield Mayor John Cecconi told the council the cost of each ballast is around $180. Approximately 60 lights need to have them installed.
A lighting ballast is required to operate discharge lights because they have negative resistance, meaning they cannot regulate the amount of current that passes through them. A lighting ballast must be used to control the current flow; otherwise the light could fail.
“Originally, we just talked about replacing the ones that are bad,” added Mattingly. “In essence, we’re going to have to do that.”
“The best thing I thought we could do is try to get a grant or some money to take the old poles down and put the new poles up,” said Cecconi. The mayor asked councilman Borders about the cost associated with new poles.
Borders said he did not know what the new poles would cost, but he added that the cost of redoing the old ones would cost about $26,000 per field.
“The contract we did on the last field we did was $60,000,” said Springfield City Administrator Laurie Smith. “That was for six poles.”
“The poles are bad...and if the cash becomes available to replace one field at a time, then we should do that,” added Cecconi. “There is very little maintenance on the newer poles on the field below.”
Mattingly said most of the framing on the exterior of the concession stands is done, and work is ready to begin on the inside.
Business at this meeting was conducted with all members of the city council present.