Updated: September 17, 2013 2:03PM
CROWN POINT — The softball fields at the southernmost point of the SportsPlex have been redone. They had to wait their turn until the end of the 2013 season.
As soon as the season was over the bulldozers went in and tore up everything. All the field drainage tiles had to be replaced; the fields all needed to be rebuilt. The only thing left standing was the block concession stand.
The old lights were taken out; the fences are gone. It is obviously a construction site. Big pieces of heavy equipment have been parking in the old gravel parking lot along South Street. It is all the space on the east side of the drainage ditch that separates the SportsPlex from the armed services field machinery museum on the west side of the ditch.
At the Board of Public Works meeting on Sept. 11 city engineer, Tris Miles, asked for approval to award the contract for the work for Phase 3 electric project to Sweney Electric Company of Merrillville. The Sweeney bid was $653,170. The other bidders were close. In ranking they were: Continental Electric Co. of Gary, $672,200; Circle “R” Electric Co., Portage, $677,900; EMCORE Hyre Electric Co., Highland, $701,000; and Lyons Electric Co. of LaGrange, Ill., $864,000.
Board member Tim Grzych asked if Sweeney had worked for the city before. Board member Randy Palmateer, answered “Only for the past two generations.” In his private life, Palmateer is the business manager of the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council.
The board also awarded the fencing contract for the Phase 3 project for materials and labor for the installation of site and field chain-link fencing with outfield fence-cap and wind screen, site ornamental fencing, backstop netting, foul poles, dugout fencing and dumpster fencing. All Access got the contract with its bid of $223,491. Security Industries bid $273,689.
This is the same decorative fencing that encircles the early phases of the SportsPlex.
In addition to these two contracts the board also extended the contract of Austgen Equipment to clean out the section of the ditch that starts at the culvert ditch crossing at the parking lot and runs south of the military museum, according to Miles.
The bid from Austgen was $16,170. This time they would be using grappling equipment to lift out the scrub trees and save the nice trees. Weather permitting they will have already started on the west side of the ditch. This will be almost twice as much as was done last year. They will be doing both the west and east sides of the ditch.
Mayor Dave Uran asked, “What about the railroad right of way? There is a long term plan for a bike trail there.”
Miles said that they could determine a price for that.
Miles had another interesting item in his report about the SportsPlex. He has received an offer to purchase the fill from all the digging. The offer is for up to $30,000, which the city will take and the funds will go back into the SportsPlex budget.
The sod will be delivered and the city wants to get it in by October. That gives a longer growing season leaving the fields up and ready for next spring.