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Will park upgrades make a splash?

New lights on ball field to be more energy efficient
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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When warm weather arrives in a few months, local youth could be cooling off at the new Colfax Splash Park and playing at an upgraded ballpark. The Colfax City Council is scheduled to consider the final approval of the addition of the splash park to the Living War Memorial Park at its Feb. 27 meeting. The ballpark improvements were approved in January.

Bruce Kranz, Colfax city manager, said the lights at the ballpark will be replaced, as will the fencing on the back stop, and  “We’re hoping to put a portable-type fence that can be moved, depending on softball, little league, or adult league” games being played, he said. The lighting contract has been awarded and fencing bids were opened this week.

Bill Hinrichs, of Gold Run, is the Sierra Foothills Little League construction coordinator for the ballpark project. Hinrichs describes the lights, poles and overhead wiring at the 50-plus-year-old park as “way past their useable life.”

The Little League of America, he said, has been asking local leagues across the country to replace wooden poles and overhead wiring for safety reasons. “Just a few years ago one of the poles fell over during the winter, which was kind of a first warning for us. We knew that system was going to have to be upgraded or replaced,” he said. “The new system will be much more energy efficient, the wiring will be underground,” and the wooden poles will be replaced with steel poles.

Hinrichs said the Little League will have night games every week from April into June, and other organizations such as the Junior Falcon football team uses the field in the fall at night. “We all pay a rental fee for using (the field), and hourly rental fee when we use the field.”

The SFLL, said Hinrichs, “is very excited about upgrades to the park. We haven’t had any Little League tournaments in Colfax for quite a few years because teams have moved to fields with modern systems and field upgrades.”

Hinrichs also praised former and current Colfax council members for being supportive of improvements at the ballpark, “not just for the Little League, but for everyone … that will be good for commerce in Colfax, if we get tourneys in June and July.”

Contract city engineer Alan Mitchell, of Ponticello Enterprises in Woodland, said the city is funding park improvements from a combination of sources. The city received $220,000 from Proposition 40 funding, $40,000 of which is being used for the splash park and $180,000 going to the ballpark improvements. The city also received $100,000 from county park dedication fees. These monies had been intended for use toward a new swimming pool complex; however, last year the city’s $2.9 million state parks grant application to upgrade the park and build a swimming pool was denied and the council voted to move forward with the water feature and ball field improvements.

Mitchell said the splash park design allows for a future pool. “We’re going to put in an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible ramp that will tie into the parking lot. The existing bathroom will stay; we’re not doing anything to them,” Mitchell said. All the other existing buildings, except for the small ticket building there that’s going to be removed by another contractor to open up area for the splash park, will be left standing. “The other buildings will be dealt with if and when a pool goes in,” he said.

For now, the city is “going try to put in some benches, picnic tables and grass area where the future pool will go, to give folks a place to sit down and hang out and kids can play outside of the play area,” Mitchell said.

The splash park, Mitchell said, “Should be completed and ready for use,” by mid-May, depending on the weather and when the contract is awarded for the project that includes the water-play equipment, site work, a colored-concrete pad, the ADA ramp and miscellaneous plumbing and electrical work.