Mackle Park lights a boon to the sports community

Bryan Milk, City Parks and Recreation director, sees the installation of lights at Mackle Park as a true benefit to the community sports programs.

The City Council obviously felt the same as it unanimously voted to spend $150,000 for new lights at the park at its Monday meeting.

Milk expects that having lights on the athletic area at Mackle Park will help reduce field stress at Winterberry Park and Tommie Barfield when it comes to early and later evening sports.

He expects Musco Lighting of Muscatine, Iowa, could have the lights operational in March. He also boasts of the lights efficiency and flexibility.

“The lights, called green lights, will give us more efficiency and the computerized system operating the lights will give additional control,” he said. “Based on the schedule, the lights will to be programmed so that they will be on when needed. A telephone call to the Musco control center will also shut off the lights under bad-weather situations. There will be no more going to the field with a key to turn the lights on an off (like other fields).”

He sees Marco Eagles football, Charter School soccer and the Optimist Club soccer programs taking advantage of the field, whether it be for practice or games. It may also bring the Optimist flag football program to Mackle, instead of Veterans’ Memorial Park.

Tom Garousi, past president of the Optimist Club, attended the council meeting when the contract was awarded.

“I think it will help sports big time,” he said. “Essentially it will be like having another playing field open for more hours. There are some conflicts that occur now without the expanded hours for usage.”

Garousi gave an example of the spring Optimist program possibly conflicting with Cal Ripken baseball and the adult softball programs. He also mentioned the spring Charter School boys soccer program, not just for games, but practice time.

“Essentially the only place available after 5:30 p.m. is Winterberry (Park),” he said. “Scheduling becomes very difficult between March and April. Lights at Mackle Park will help relieve scheduling problems.”

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