By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Tom Prince Memorial Park could soon have a new set of lights.
Well, not necessarily brand new lights, but lights new to the ball park.
Jeff Prince, president of the Colfax Softball Association, talked to the Colfax Village Board’s parks committee March 16 about lights and poles, bleacher repairs and other possible projects.
New lights for the park are already two-thirds paid for, Prince said.
Local electrician Chris Fogarty found some lights on an on-line auction in Baldwin, he said.
A total of 22 lights were available at a cost of $645. New lights were priced a few years ago at $800 to $1,500, Prince said.
Fogarty tested the new lights and found only a few bulbs that were bad. Some of the lights in poorer shape could be used for replacement parts for the lights that are in better condition, he said.
The light poles, which are more than 40 years old, also need to be replaced, Prince said, noting that the lights and poles were a donation from the school district from the old football field.
The lights and the electrical hookups will be the most expensive part of the project, and 90-foot poles will be more expensive than 60-foot poles, he said.
If taller poles are used, “you can get by with fewer lights,” said Jeremy Klukas, village trustee and a member of the parks committee.
If Prince obtained quotes for the poles, then the village board could budget for it and make it a project for next year, said Mark Halpin, village trustee.
Prince recalled that one of the light poles had snapped off during a wind storm a few years back and that it would be better to replace the poles sooner rather than later.
The planks have been replaced on all three of the bleacher units at the ballpark, Prince said.
The foot planks, however, are two-by-sixes and need to be wider, he said.
“It would be safer with wider foot planks,” Prince said, noting that the bleachers also could use hand rails.
Kyle and Tami Knutson rounded up 4-H members last fall to work on the bleachers, he said.
“I thought we might only get one done, but we had enough of a crew that we were done in three hours,” Prince said.
The softball association also would like to put advertising on the outfield fence, Prince said.
Past village boards have not allowed any advertising for local businesses to be put on the ball field fence, but Prince said he would like to look into it again.
Tournament teams and spectators should be aware of the businesses that are in Colfax, he said.
Klukas wondered about two-sided signs so they could be seen from the road as well, but Prince said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation might not allow two-sided signs since Highway 170 is a state highway.
“I would love to have a sign out there for my business,” said Annie Schieber, village trustee, chair of the parks committee and the owner of A Little Slice of Italy.
“We want to keep (the ball field) going, and we want to make it look good,” Prince said.
List of projects
Prince said the softball association would be meeting two days after the parks committee meeting, and Schieber asked him to speak with the other association members and compile a list of projects that need to be completed at the ball park.
If a list of projects to be completed in the next five years is available, the village board can plan for budgeting, and the softball association also can plan for fund raisers, Schieber said.
Prince said the softball association would sort the list and separate out those projects that association members could do themselves.
The parks committee planned to meet again on March 23 prior to the village board meeting to continue the discussion about the ball field and to discuss items postponed from the March 16 agenda, including Evergreen Cemetery and the Colfax Fairgrounds.