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$490,000 electrical upgrade to Donald Comer Jr. Recreation Complex pending City Council vote Tuesday


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Donald Comer Jr. Recreation Complex is in dire need of electrical upgrades.The City of Sylacauga has recently made drastic improvements to many athletic facilities and the Council will vote Tuesday night on an item detailed to invest nearly $500,000 in electrical and lighting upgrades to the park.

Lighting at the park is one of the biggest issues. Sylacauga Parks and Recreation Director Jim Armstrong told roughly 60 percent of the lights are currently working properly and said the lighting has been there since the complex was first built.

“Lighting is our biggest need right now.” Armstrong explained. “Everything is just so old, and it can’t be fixed. The council will have to vote on this and I believe they will.”

Armstrong detailed the plans, saying the fields will get new lights, light poles, and even new scoreboards at the park under the proposed agenda item. The scoreboards at the complex today are very outdated, according to Armstrong, and need to be replaced. Many of the lights in the boards do not work, and the words detailing scores, outs, innings and runs are faded and washed away, making it nearly impossible for those in attendance to read the boards. There are also loose pieces of electrical conduit hanging from the boards.

“Hopefully we’ll get new scoreboards,” he said. “We can’t find parts for these anymore, so if they tear up we’re just out of luck.”

Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl said these upgrades have been needed for years, not only for aesthetics, but because of safety concerns. “The electricity there is not safe,” Heigl said. He said the city made some improvements there in the past, but more still needs to be done.

“The wiring is not properly grounded. The wiring, insulation and everything that was used when the complex was built is deteriorating and it is somewhat of a hazard for the people out there,” he said.

However aesthetics upgrades are almost as essential according to Heigl. “These things are important,” he said. “People need a place that they can enjoy.”

Last week, the complex hosted all-star tournaments and will host state tournaments in the coming weeks. Between the tournaments, Heigl estimates nearly 4,000 people will be coming to the area, creating an even greater need for upgrades.

“For us to host things like this, we need something that is up to par with everyone else,” Armstrong said. He admitted many more improvements need to be made to the park including new fencing, concession stands and more, but said those improvements will have to be made in the future.

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