Buda approves Sportsplex field lighting funds

Questions about how to fund stadium light installation at Buda Sportsplex baseball and softball fields has now been partially answered.

On March 4, the Buda Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors approved allocating $600,000 from its budget for LED stadium light installation at fields within the 52-acre Sportsplex Park, according to a press release. The monies are expected to cover the entire $598,000 price tag for the project.

A formal decision on the monies was made April 2 when the Buda City Council approved $600,000 for the lighting improvements.

However, Buda city leaders still have questions on the EDC’s proposed $2.7 million budget increase.

Buda Mayor George Haehn said the entire item was tabled as city officials didn’t receive background information on the majority of the $2.7 million request.

“We tabled it to find out more,” Haehn said. He added that, while they had information on installation of stadium lights, city leaders were “not sure” what the remaining $2.1 million was for.

Ann Miller, Buda EDC executive director, said the board opted to ask for a $2.7 million budget increase during its March 4 meeting. While part of it goes to the Sportsplex light project, the remaining $2.1 million will go to a project called Pink Sunshine. Miller could not disclose details of Pink Sunshine at this time.

Allocation of EDC funds for lights at Sportsplex somewhat closes some of the mystery surrounding who was responsible for it.

Originally, Buda EDC officials set aside $400,000 to assist with install of the light standards. However, the EDC’s board postponed a decision on allocating the funds in order to obtain a presentation on lighting proposals.

The delay led to Buda city leaders postponing a decision to move forward with an agreement with Musco Lighting for the project, according to a Hays Free Press report. City leaders expressed a desire to include lighting at Sportsplex soccer fields as well.

Originally, city leaders had included lighting at the baseball fields only. Greg Olmer, Buda Parks and Recreations director provided EDC board members figures and proposals from Musco, which included the addition of light standards at the soccer fields.

EDC board members agreed to increase its original figure by $200,000.

“I am excited that we are able to help finally finish this project and give the citizens what was promised to them years ago,” Board treasurer John Hatch.

Haehn said the EDC’s making a decision on the lighting is “a good thing” and that the city was looking forward to that.

However, Haehn said city leaders will wait to find out more on the entire request and to make sure “what is going on.”

City officials also hope to find a way to possibly add lights to the soccer fields at the Sportsplex. The city could possibly use hotel occupancy tax (HOT) funds to help with the cost of lights on the soccer fields, if city leaders choose to go that route.

“Council member Evan Ture said it was something we should evaluate,” Haehn said. “We can look at what is available and what can be done.”

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