By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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School Board members voted 5-0 Thursday night to approve the district contribution after the city had originally requested up to $140,000 to help keep the lights on for night games.
Corey Delikat, city parks and recreation director, said the district’s contribution will be a key piece in finding funding to replace 36-year-old lights at the city-owned field at Third and Race streets.
It shows collaboration between the two public entities that the city will point to in its application for a $200,000 state Recreation and Conservation Office Local Parks grant to fund half the cost of the lighting system, he said.
“It’s a critical piece that shows the working relationship between the school district and the city for a community project,” Delikat said.
The city has set aside $60,000 for the lighting replacement and was requesting $140,000 to allow the city to provide the 50 percent match required for the state grant.
The city estimates the lighting will cost about $400,000 to replace, and Delikat said he will continue to seek city funds to make up the remainder of the match requirement.
“I will find the rest of the money,” Delikat said, adding that city real estate excise taxes are a possibility.
Jan. 1 deadline
The grant application is due Thursday, but Delikat said the city has until Jan. 1 to find money for the required match.
School Board member Patti Happe made the motion to contribute $60,000 because it matched the amount the city had set aside.
“We will work out the details of how that payment is made to the city,” district Superintendent Jane Pryne said Friday.
Pryne said the money could come from the district’s capital projects or maintenance-and-operations funds.
Delikat told the board Thursday night that city crews can no longer find replacement parts for the lights because they are so old and that some have fallen from their fixtures high above the field.
“We’ve had to remove lights because they are no longer working,” Delikat said.
He said 70 percent of all usage at Civic Field is by Port Angeles High School sports teams playing football, baseball and soccer.
Night games will not be possible if the lights completely fail and there is no money for replacements, Delikat told the board.
“When is this going to happen, I don’t know, but we’re already on borrowed time,” he said.
Happe said an agreement between the district and the city allows for district use of Civic Field and for city parks and recreation use of school district gyms.
Happe said she greatly appreciates Civic Field and the school district’s partnership with the city.
“We have a great facility the school district cannot afford on its own,” she said.
“It’s an important partnership.”
In 2012, voters turned down a bond to fund lighting replacement and other improvements to the aging stadium and field.
Delikat said Friday that his department has a strong partnership with the district.
“I work very closely with Nolan Duce, the maintenance superintendent, and the athletic director,” Delikat said.
“We have a great working relationship.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.