Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The ball fields at East Bay Park may go dark after a recent City Council discussion.
According to City Administrator Chris Carter, the field lights at the park get very little usage, and the county has an interest in moving them to another facility. Carter brought the issue to the attention of City Council at its Aug. 28 workshop.
East Bay Park is maintained by the county, which also owns the lights.
“Our initial discussion was to work with the city and electric department to remove whatever lights, and they would assist us in relocating them to the Beck facility to add lighting to the outdoor fields,” clarified Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway.
Numbers from the City of Georgetown Electric Department show the limited use of the lights.
Alan Loveless, director of electric utility, said there are five meters at the park: three fields, one concession stand and one scoreboard. The meter reports provided were from January 2013 to July 2014.
During that time period, the Dixie Youth field lights drew the most power, 880 kilowatt-hours (the amount of electrical energy consumed when 1,000 watts are used for one hour), in March 2013. In July 2014, only 14 kwh were consumed.
The field classified as “G-4” used 1 kwh during July 2014. The highest consumption at that field was 720 kwh in March 2013, a distinct outlier.
The field labeled “G-5” used no power during July 2014. Its highest consumption was during October and November 2013, with roughly 1,300 kwh used each month. The months are distinct outliers also.
No power usage is shown at the scoreboard during the year-and-a-half timeframe.
Councilwoman Peggy Wayne expressed concern that taking down the lights may mean taking down the ball field, too.
“People use those fields all the time,” she said.
But Carter said that’s not the intent; the county only wishes to remove the lights and use them at the Beck Recreation Center, where it thinks they will get more use.
After hearing safety concerns, Carter reassured the council that the ball field parking lights will remain.
He said the city had “offered to take them down” for the county.
“We were asking if they could relocate the lights over there [at Beck] for us,” Hemingway said, because the city has the equipment to do so. “There is still discussion on the matter, though, it hasn’t been finalized yet.”
Carter mentioned additional changes to the park are in discussion as well, such as increased parking for the fields and the boat landing, and a restroom facility.
No action was taken at the city workshop regarding the lights.