By Karen Brainard
Saturday evening marked a celebration of lights on the opening day of Ramona Pony Baseball.
Ceremonies were held in the early evening so the baseball league could utilize the 17 new light poles set around the four baseball fields at Ramona’s Wellfield Park. It was a project that had been in the works for several years.
“We’ve been saving for almost eight years,” said Mark Pack, former Ramona Sports Association treasurer who was instrumental in moving the lighting project forward.
Pack spoke from the field to a crowd of parents and ball players around 5 p.m. as the sun was setting. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who obtained $300,000 in Neighborhood Reinvestment Funds for the project, was on hand to see the lights turn on at the event.
The lights were also funded by $150,000 in Park Land Dedication Ordinance funds and $30,000 from the Ramona Pony Baseball League.
Pack told the crowd that so many people donated time and money to the lighting project that the league was able to use some of the funds for other improvement projects for the fields.
Pack gave credit to Tim Knowd from Par Electric, who donated equipment and labor to erect the lights in about six hours.
“They did that for free, not a penny paid toward them,” Pack said.
The light poles stand 70 feet tall and have a total of 84 shielded lights, he said.
Pack told the Sentinel that other companies estimated it would take two to three days to stand the poles. Par Electric’s donation saved the league a lot of money, he said, which helped because the league ran into items that were not budgeted, such as tree trimming and a geotechnical study.
As Jacob stood before the microphone looking up at the lights, she said, “This is your tax dollars coming back to fund Wellfield Park.”
The supervisor emphasized the importance of exercise and how it fits in with the county’s “Building Better Health” program.
“To the kids out there, I love what you’re doing. I played everything a girl could play in the day,” Jacob said.
Being a team player teaches life skills, makes one a better person, and carries over into the classroom and academics, she said.
Ramona Pony Baseball President Tim Fidler presented two awards that night. Volunteer of the Year went to Mark Pack, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Sue Lanz, who worked on the lighting project and had plans drafted in 2004.
Pack said the lights will make it easier for the kids to play ball in the early evening.
“It’s kind of a safety factor,” Pack said, explaining that the sun, as it starts to set, shines into the eyes of a batter, making it difficult to see the ball. Being able to start games a little later will also give parents time to coach after work, he said.
The lights are controlled through a computer and can be programmed for the whole week.
“It’s working like a charm,” said Pack.
About 375 players have signed up for the league this year.