Baseball

Village Council members will consider installing lights at the K-8 Center ball field to accommodate baseball and softball next year.

Local leaders are expected to vote tonight on a proposal to install lights at the Key Biscayne K-8 Center baseball field and basketball court, a project aimed at helping address playing space shortages for youth sports.

Tonight's Village Council meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers. It is open to the public and airs live on government TV stations and streams on www.keybiscayne.fl.gov.

Village Council members will review a $332,500 contract with Musco Sports Lighting LLC for lighting the facilities at the school, which the Village uses for its youth sports programs under an agreement with the Miami-Dade School District.

The issue came up June 5 based on a request from Youth Athletics Advisory Board Chair Glen Waldman, who noted the Village lost access to lighted Crandon Park baseball fields after this season, so it needs to be able to use the K-8 Center facility to accommodate all of its baseball and softball activities starting next spring.

“We need lights. We need lights in the worst way for that field – it will have to accommodate the entire baseball program,” Waldman said on the 5th.

A memo to the Council confirmed that due to restrictions in the Crandon Park Master Plan, Miami-Dade County officials would be removing the Crandon Park baseball fields, fencing and ball field lighting that Village baseball and softball teams have used for years.

Waldman said that led the YAAB to vote unanimously to recommend the project to the Council.

“If approved, this will not only benefit our baseball program but also numerous other sports, which will need the field space after dark as well,” Waldman said, noting the lights would allow the Village to develop a lacrosse program and could also allow the fields to be used by soccer and other sports. “It would become a multiuse field, for a lot of our sports.”

At the time, Council members offered support, asking Village Manager John Gilbert to prepare a resolution they could vote on, but said they do want to give the public a chance to weigh in before approving the project.

In the past, field lighting proposals have generated concern about light pollution. While Waldman noted technology has greatly improved and local leaders said they have not received complaints about lights on the Village Green or at St. Agnes Academy, Council members still decided to put off a decision until the 25th so residents could speak up if they wanted to.

Tonight, Jason Frucht from Musco will be on hand to answer questions.

If the contract is approved, the Village will continue working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools on final approval by the Miami-Dade County School Board for the project. As a memo to the Council noted, “If these requirements delay the estimated substantial completion date beyond the first day of school, the work may be scheduled to take place at a later date mutually agreed upon by all parties.”

Gilbert added funding is available in the working capital line to pay for the lights.

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