Hartselle City Parks & Recreation Director Frank Miller presented City Council members with urgent safety upgrades for Rueben Sims Baseball Field and the Robert Street Baseball Field at the regular board meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 22, meeting. The ball fields are in desperate need of upgrading the wiring, lights and old switches, in a current systems that was installed in the 1970s, he said.
The major concern for the electrical system at the fields is the possibility of an oil switch exploding, such as one did, luckily during off hours, last season, Miller said.
High school baseball games will begin Feb. 18 at the fields.
Hartselle Utility Department employees who examined the high school ball field and 11 and 12 baseball fields, found that the primary conductor, which has lasted beyond its 30 year mark, is currently failing. The existing electrical feeds for all three fields have 7,200 volts of electricity attached to the metal towers plus a transformer on each tower, Miller said.
Upon inspection, Hartselle Utilities recognized that “if the primary conductor fails there is a possibility that the tower could energize with 7,200 volts and if a transformer fails there could be a hot oil spill.” There are 12 oil switches, among the fields, to be replaced.
Hartselle Utility Department agreed to participate in the upgrade project with budgeted funds and labor. The total estimated cost of proposed electrical upgrades is $66,239. The utilities department asked Dobbs & Company Electrical Contractors to provide an estimate for the electrical upgrades at the fields, which would include breaker box at both ball fields, installing secondary feeds for each tower. Dobbs & Company estimated the city’s cost to be $45,964 and Hartselle Utilities’ work would be estimated at $20,275.
Council member Tom Chappell suggested that along with the electrical upgrades the council take a look at upgrading the lighting at the fields at the same time. The council heard from Musco Sports Lighting Representative Jimmy Jumper during the work session held an hour before the meeting Tuesday. Jumper proposed more energy efficient lighting fixtures to replace the current 20-year-old fixtures. Jumper proposed 44 new fixtures to replace the current 66 fixtures in place now, and said the lighting would be would bring the current light levels up to league standards.
During the work session, the council chose to postpone the lighting upgrades until a later time and proposed to take care of the more pressing safety concerns involving the electrical systems at the ball fields.
The council voted unanimously at the meeting to upgrade the electrical system at the ball fields. The project should take about three weeks to complete. Miller will present a budget adjustment at the next meeting.
In other business, Mayor Don Hall expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the late County EMS owner and operator Terry Garwood. Garwood, 47, died Thursday, Jan. 24. According to reports, Garwood was found unresponsive at his home Thursday and transported to the Parkway Campus of Decatur Hospital, where he later died.
County EMS is the exclusive ambulance service provider for the Hartselle area. Hall had Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton address the ambulance service issue at the meeting.
Shelton said with the aide of area ambulance and emergency services, Hartselle was at no time without services during Garwood’s funeral. He said he will be talking with County EMS Supervisor Joey McKinley about the future of the company, and will report back to the mayor and council as soon as possible.
During the regular meeting Tuesday, the council also approved the following items:
• To enter into a contract with the Atlantic Group, LLC for Aerial Data Acquisition 2013, this will include aerial imagery of the Hartselle area. The imagery is updated every three years. The city’s portion of the contracted work is estimated at $14,926.
• To enter into a contract with Local Government Services, LLC to provide consulting services for Charter Cable Franchise Agreement renewal.
• To declare a surplus for administration, including several non-working printers and servers with hard drives removed. The surplus is to be sold on govdeals.com.
• To appoint Mayor Don Hall, in the place of previous Mayor Dwight Tankersley, to the Morgan County Cooperative District Board. The term will expire in 2016.
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