League looks for light help
Published 11:42 pm Friday, January 23, 2015
Myra McCarthy believes the lights at one of Nansemond River Pony Baseball League’s fields behind John Yeates Middle School are as old as the school itself.
That’s a problem.
The sodium lights, now way out of fashion, teeter atop eight wooden poles. Except for one pole that had to be replaced a while ago, the equipment is about 60 years old, estimates McCarthy, league president.
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“You can see where they are leaning,” McCarthy pointed out.
About 24 of the 64 individual lights are out, she said, which makes seeing the baseball during evening games no easy thing.
“We have contacted a couple of electricians, and they said they wouldn’t touch them, because the poles are in bad shape,” McCarthy added.
The league has about 150 members. But the field, McCarthy said, is also used by Bennett’s Creek Little League, Bennett’s Creek Warriors football and cheering, and also the women’s softball league.
“Even if we pooled our resources, we wouldn’t be able to raise the $80,000 to $100,000” to replace the lights and poles, she said.
But McCarthy said replacing the equipment is indeed the league’s next priority after $25,000 was spent installing lights on the field used by younger players. A third field behind John Yeates has no lights.
“We have been in touch with the city and told them what our plans are. They are going to see if they have any opportunity to help, but that’s probably not going to happen,” McCarthy said.
She said Dominion Power has offered to take down the old poles and install new ones as a community project. A local lighting company quoted about $25,000 for new lights, and McCarthy is waiting on a quote from a local electrician to install them while the new poles are on the ground.
A quote for steel poles was $250,000, McCarthy said, and now she’s also waiting on a quote for wooden ones.
For a community sporting organization for children, it all adds up to a lot of money.
“We are looking to do a fundraiser via Applebee’s, and if we do set it up, it would probably only generate about $1,200 to $1,500,” McCarthy said. “So as you can see, it’s a very slow process.”
The league was only formed in 2007. McCarthy said they have entered the Norfolk Tides’ Field of Dreams program the past couple of years, but “because we are very small, we can’t get enough votes for that.”
“We have tried for different grants, but I guess there are more needy organizations out there,” she added.
McCarthy isn’t giving up hope. Anyone interested in helping the league, she said, can visit www.nansemondriverpony.org.
“Contractors willing to donate time or materials — we’d definitely take that as well,” McCarthy said.