Elberta sports complex near completion after 16 years

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/25/22

ELBERTA — Work on the Elberta sports complex is nearing completion after 16 years of effort, town officials said.

Mayor Jim Hamby said at the Town Council meeting Tuesday, March 15, work …

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Elberta sports complex near completion after 16 years

Posted

ELBERTA — Work on the Elberta sports complex is nearing completion after 16 years of effort, town officials said.

Mayor Jim Hamby said at the Town Council meeting Tuesday, March 15, work still needing to be done includes fencing and the installation of lights. He said he hopes that the town can hold a ceremony to recognize supporters over the years when those improvements are made.

"At that point, the park will be substantially complete enough and then we need to have a grand opening and we are going to invite anybody who donated anything to it, anybody who's kids played on it, any volunteers and any elected officials," Hamby said. "It took us 16 years to get here, and it took all of our efforts to get here."

The mayor said one issue at the complex has been improvements made as part of an agreement with Elberta High School. The school uses two fields at the site for its boys' baseball team and girls' softball field. Hamby said the town agreed to pay for some improvements, but school officials had ordered work without consulting with Elberta.

"They canceled an order to $1,900 because it couldn't be delivered in time," Hamby said. "The $1,900 order that they canceled was on-deck circles, 5-foot on-deck circles. They need two, one for each side. One of the on-deck circles was $238.46. I don't know what they cost. I guess that's what they cost. The other one was $1,684.62. The different being was it had a gray logo put on it. The girls needed the batting circles. They needed a logo on the home side, and they were willing to spend almost $1,400 of our money to pay for a logo. To me that goes to want, not need."

Hamby said two dugouts were also built that did not meet town building codes. The roof on one dugout was blown off during a recent storm.

He said the school also did not build needed restroom facilities at the site.

"They had two years to build the bathrooms," he said. "They didn't build them for two years. We had six weeks from the time they gave a request by the time the roof was on to accomplish the impossible."

Councilman Steve Kirkpatrick said future projects should be approved by town officials and anyone working on municipal property should check with Town Clerk Caryn Woerner before beginning.

"I think that in the future, anything the town is going to pay for, I think first off we need to approve it and, second, they're going to need to get a packet from Ms. Woerner with what we're requiring in insurance, workman's comp, their tax forms and all that needs to be in before the work starts," Kirkpatrick said.

The council voted to approve giving the school $1,640, the remainder of $5,000 approved for work on the school fields, to pay part of a $3,400 bill for electrical work.

Hamby said lights are still needed at the soccer field, but that work will have to wait because of the high cost. He said fixtures would cost about $250,000 and the entire project with poles, wiring, installation and other costs would be at least $450,000.

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