Lights are installed, but project may be delayed due to shortage
Gilroy – The grass at the city’s future sports park may not bloom green for a few seasons because of summer hurricanes, but construction crews are working hard to complete other aspects of the project.
Residents driving south on Monterey Road past Luchessa Avenue may have noticed in recent days that stadium-style lighting and backstop netting for three ball fields have gone up in the once-empty fields to the west.
Drivers also may have noticed occasional lane closures in recent months at the city’s southern crossroads, as part of efforts to connect the 80-acre sports park with vital infrastructure.
“We’re 50 percent done with the project,” said City Parks and Facilities Manager Bill Headley. “You’re not going to see the multimillion dollars of infrastructure – the water mains, the electrical, gas, storm, sewer lines – but everything is going in in advance of the full build-out.”
The $10 million project remains on budget, although the city may experience some delay due to the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast this summer.
“Piping for recycled water is typically purple plastic and you cannot buy it in the United States right now,” Headley said. “One of the plants (that manufacture the piping) caught fire and the other one’s railroad line is washed out. All the available purple pipe has evaporated as of this month.”
He said the cost of the piping is locked in contractually, so the city does not expect to pay more even if shortages drive up prices. But the lack of purple piping will delay the installation of the irrigation system, which in turn could delay the time local Little Leaguers can hit the fields.
The lack of piping could delay the public opening of the fields from summer 2006 to the following spring.
In the meantime, the city is installing stadium lights measuring 60 to 90 feet in the air, as well as pedestrian and bike trails leading to the future fields.