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Costa Fields rehab must happen fast
Costa rehab
With the youth baseball season fast approaching, city officials are keeping their fingers crossed about weather conditions that could affect the work schedule. ARPA funds are being used on some improvements. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Costa Fields complex in Smyrna Park will be upgraded with the allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds following action taken at the Jan. 22 Ceres City Council meeting.

The council approved the use of $200,000 from ARPA to make a number of improvements after city staff met with officials of Ceres Youth Baseball, one of the primary users of the baseball fields. The fields will be improved with 70/30 infield mix, tilled and graded. Packing clay will be installed at batter boxes and catcher’s box. Conditioner will be installed and there will be smooth out for the infield transition. The project includes fertilizer applied to the grass outfield areas and two mowings of the outfield. One mowing will be made prior to fertilizer is applied and the second mowing about 10 days after fertilizing and remove weeds and spray fence lines.

The restrooms at the field will be upgraded, including new faucets and sinks. Fifty-three feet of chain-link fencing will be removed around the complex and replaced with wrought iron fencing with rolling gate to the front entrance.

The field gates will be re-keyed at a cost of $1,178, and signage added to the facility as well as park rules signage.

Seven ash trees around the batting cages will be pruned at a cost of $4,613. Because of the high cost, the city plans to seek additional bids, including one from West Coast Arborist which has the city’s street tree pruning contract.

Councilman Daniel Martinez asked Recreation Manager Joey Chavez to explain the difference between two quotes. Grover Landscaping submitted a quote of $151,000 and Artificial Turf & Landscaping Company of Modesto, which just rehabbed Ceres High School’s varsity softball fields, quoted $72,755.

Chavez noted the price difference was due to prevailing wage.

Opening day for the youth baseball season is March 22 and there is a tournament scheduled in the middle of this month and Ceres High scheduled to play the first weekend in March.

“So it’s very important that we have those fields up and running after Presidents’ Day weekend,” CVB Board President Jorge Guerrero told the council.

Chavez said the fields will be done first with weather possibly delaying the work with additional work done when possible.

Guerrero urged the city to do something about lighting on field #3 due to the danger of players having difficulty seeing the ball coming.

Chavez said he doesn’t know when the lights were last installed but said Turlock is replacing lights on five fields with new LED lights.

During the discussion, businessman Shane Parson got up to express how he has a hard time supporting CYB when they have refused his company, Embroidery Plus, bidding to make team uniforms. “Still they take their business out of town,” charged Parson.

Guerrero said he just became president and the next time the uniform contract expires he will open up bids to Parson and others.

Going with the less expensive field contract would leave about $91,000 leftover for Costa upgrades. Vice Mayor Bret Silveira that money could be used to cover the needed light bulbs.