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Copyright 2013 Sarasota Herald-Tribune Co.
All Rights Reserved

Sarasota Herald Tribune (Florida)
November 6, 2013 Wednesday
249 words
Ed Smith Stadium to retrofit its lighting

FAST TRACK: $1.2 million project will be completed in time for spring training


The lighting at Ed Smith Stadium will be overhauled after 25 years.

Sarasota County Commissioners voted Tuesday to increase the maximum expenditure for retrofitting the lights by $267,047, to nearly $1.2 million. The county recently went out to bid on the project, and that was the low bid, from Himes Electric Company Inc.

The improvements will be covered through tourist development taxes, as well as some funding from the Baltimore Orioles.

The lighting project has been fast-tracked and is scheduled to be completed by March 1 -- the date of the Orioles' first spring training game at home.

"We will have night baseball in the spring," Sports Development Coordinator Pat Calhoon told county officials.

The first night game scheduled this spring is March 8, against the Boston Red Sox.

County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and David Rovine, vice president of Orioles-Sarasota, said the stadium hosts more than spring training. They noted that youth baseball teams practice at the stadium and community events and performances are held there.

Commissioner Carolyn Mason recently attended an event for veterans at the facility and said, "Things are starting to pop there."

The current lighting system is expensive, Calhoon said.

Whether someone wants the lights on for 15 minutes or 15 hours, they have to pay the same permit charge, which is more than $5,000, he said.

The new system would be metered by use, Calhoon said.

November 7, 2013

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