The lights at Pedretti Park are old and faulty, and haven’t been upgraded since they were first installed in 1981. That could soon change, as Councilmembers gave unanimous approval on Tuesday for the City of Turlock to move forward with the process to replace them with LED technology.
According to Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities supervisor Mark Crivelli, the outdated lights at Pedretti are the cause of frequent bulb replacements and suffer from a failing wiring system — aging infrastructure which has cost the City both time and money. Replacing the lights has been a long-term priority of Councils past, with the item added to the City’s capital improvement plan years ago.
Additionally, the lights have been determined unfit for tournament play, jeopardizing the City’s primary source for its Transient Occupancy Tax. The current lights are so bad, said Parks director Allison Van Guilder, that outages are happening during tournaments and games.
“What we do know is the age of the lights is absolutely affecting the quality of play at our facility…We compete up and down the state with other facilities,” Van Guilder said. “We are a draw for some of these larger tournaments. They have high expectations — as they should — of the facility they’re choosing to bring these tournaments to…This really is an investment in this facility that’s served this community well for many, many years. We’re at a point where we’re running out of tricks.”
The City’s struggling finances have kept the project from being completed, until now. Thanks to an estimate from the company which originally installed the lights in 1981, the City has budgeted $163,000 per year and now has a total of $489,000 stashed away for the project. Turlock Irrigation District also awarded the City a $150,482 grant for the new lights, which must be used in 2022 and is based on the total reduction of electricity at the park thanks to the LED lights.
The City estimates the saving of tens of thousands in electricity use charges each year by switching to LED lights, and the project will save the City over $220,000 over the next 10 years due to energy savings, a decreased need for repairs and decreased staff time. Compared to the old lights, LED lights make for safer game play thanks to better visibility, and there’s also less light spillage into other areas, like nearby homes.
In total, the project is estimated to cost around $850,000, and the City has $639,482 of allocated funding for the new lights.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved $25,000 to be used for preliminary design and engineering-related work on the project. Once a bid is awarded for the project and the total cost is finalized, the project will come back to Council for approval.