City Council to vote on legacy fund resolution for baseball field lights

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It may still be winter, but one Fort Wayne organization is looking ahead to baseball season.

World Baseball Academy unveiled three new turf fields at the ASH Centre in October, but one major aspect is still missing – lights.

Now the organization is hoping to change that with help from the Fort Wayne City Council.

Councilmen Tom Didier and Geoff Paddock introduced a resolution to invest $600,000 from the Legacy Fund to complete the fields by adding lights.

WBA leaders said the addition would have a big impact on the organization and the community as a whole. The proposed lights are expected to improve safety for players, and also reduce light pollution in the area because of their high quality, according to WBA.

Without lights, WBA said the use of the fields will only be at 65-70 percent capacity, because they won’t be fully utilized at all times of the day. Adding lights would allow teams to play later into the evening as it gets dark, offering more games overall.

WBA estimates 2,000 more games could be played over the next 10 years if they add lights to the fields. Organization leaders said those games could also have a large economic impact on the area through tourism.

Individuals, companies, and foundations have already donated $2.8 million toward the overall “More Than a Game” capital campaign. Now WBA is looking to the city’s legacy fund to put the finishing touches on the fields before the season opens this spring.

In a preliminary vote on Tuesday, February 6, City Council approved the resolution 7-1. Councilman Russ Jehl was not there, and Councilman Paul Ensley voted against it.

The plan still needs final approval from council. That vote will happen at Tuesday’s meeting.