Video screen at Bowman Field in home stretch
In baseball terms, a video scoreboard being installed this month at Bowman Field could be considered a grand slam.
The bulk of the $630,000-plus project was paid with the city’s being awarded a $1.25 million grant and a $100,000 contribution from the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Under the amended grant the city provided funds from the Bowman Field fund account and general funds with an additional $100,000 pledged by the Crosscutters for a $600,000 total.
“It was a herculean task,” said Council President Randall J. Allison.
Council, he said, recently tidied up final foundation costs not paid for in the budget or the grant, he said.
The foundation, estimated at $64,144, may be able to be paid for using the budget reserved for a pickup truck or found in Community Development Block Grant funds, or a combination, he said.
The discussion about the foundation and where to find the costs for it was described by Allison as “spirited.”
“It’s a win-win” for the city and region, he said, of the overall project going up. He added that it was not easy to cross the finish line.
The videoboard was included in a list of stadium improvements that were to be paid for in the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, he said.
The city was awarded the grant five years ago, he said, checking with finance department to confirm the timeline and facts.
The grant was approved by Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Office of Budget.
Allison said the caveat was the grant was to be used for stadium improvements, including the videoboard.
Allison recalled, however, how there were delays including two failed bids, which happened in a previous administration.
He credited the efforts of state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, in getting the grant.
Council reviewed proposed Bowman Field renovation to be done in two phases, Allison said.
The first phase included a new premium deck, new stadium seating and other stadium renovations.
“This work was substantially completed in 2015 to prepare the stadium to host Major League baseball,” Allison said.
The grant application was made by the city to amend the original grant to make further improvements under a second phase and that was approved. The second phase included renovated visitor’s and umpire’s clubhouses, other stadium renovations and a high-definition video scoreboard and control room. The scoreboard is the last part to complete the project.
“It’s really going to add something special to the ballpark,” said Jason Fitzgerald, president of Penn Strategies, the company used by the former administration as its economic development consultanting firm.
“It brings us up-to-date in what stadiums of our size have now and need to kind of survive in today’s world of high level baseball and sports entertainment,” said Gabe Sinicropi, Crosscutters vice-president/marketing and public relations. “We’ve been working hard to make it happen for three years, and that’s why the Crosscutters committed $100,000 towards the project,” he said.
The board by Daktronics, which was awarded the $628,000 contract, can broadcast scores and is linked to two cameras in the stadium, giving fans a chance to see each other in the stands and on the field game action, Sinicropi said.