City May Spend $500K for Stadium Light Towers
Light towers to be installed at All Pro Freight Stadium before Lake Erie Crushers open season in May
The Lake Erie Crushers season starts next month. And the City of Avon has one goal for the start of baseball season.
"We want people watching the game, not the light towers," said law director John Gasior.
The city is replacing all eight light towers at All Pro Freight Stadium after one came down in high winds in December, crashing down on the picnic patio above the seats on the third-base side of the stadium.
The new light towers are expected to begin arriving at the stadium by April 16, and installation is expected to be finished by May 10, said city finance director Bill Logan.
City Council will vote in next Monday's meeting about appropriating $425,000 towards paying for the installation of the lights. The money would come from both the general fund and a grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission to the city's the improvement fund.
All the money may not be spent, Logan said. Whatever isn't spent will go back to the city.
The city's insurance company for the stadium, Houston Casualty, is paying for the light tower that crashed down, as well as replacing its lights and the repairs to the picnic plaza where the light tower fell, Logan said.
It hasn't been determined what specific failure in the light tower, which was 110 feet tall, caused it to come down, Gasior said. But further inspection revealed that three other lights may also be vulnerable. So the city decided to replace all the light towers to avoid another tower coming down.
A new manufacturer, Engineered Endeavors of Newbury, OH, has been brought in to make the light towers. Except for the tower that fell, the lights from the original towers will be put on the new ones.
The city can't wait for insurance and legal settlements to be done, Logan said. Settling responsibility for the light tower falling, and getting a financial settlement, will take much longer than replacing the lights.
"I'd be surprised if it was wrapped up this year," Gasior said. "We have to look at every link on the chain, from design to manufacturing to engineering to installation and investigate what happened."
The Crushers start their season at home on May 18, and the Mid-American Conference is holding its baseball tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium the following week. The lights have to be up properly and working by then.
In January, the city approved initial reappropriations of $125,000 to begin the project.
Avon mayor Jim Smith said at Monday's work session of City Council that he was "very optimistic" that the city would be reimbursed for the project. Logan agreed on Tuesday, saying that most if not all of the costs, outside of the city hiring its own engineer to monitor the project, should be recouped, either through insurance or liability settlements with the responsible company or companies.