Munster to build 4 ball fields as part of Community Park project

2013-03-30T19:00:00Z 2013-03-30T22:04:04Z Munster to build 4 ball fields as part of Community Park projectLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 30, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

MUNSTER | Four Little League ball fields and associated buildings will be built in the third phase of Community Park improvements.

The work is expected to begin this year after the league’s season is completed.

The Munster Redevelopment Commission and the Munster Park Board unanimously approved the designs following a joint meeting. The project will soon be put out for bid.

In approving the plans’ estimated cost of about $4.8 million, the Redevelopment Commission voted to add a clause to every contract to ensure the work is finished on time.

“When the contractors bid, they have to understand there is a time frame and they have to make that deadline,” said Joseph Simonetto, Redevelopment Commission chairman.

Town Engineer James Mandon said inserting the "liquidated damages" clause likely will increase the cost of the project.

Simonetto said the project is being bid with enough lead time that the estimated costs can be re-evaluated.

Before the vote, Michael J. Matthys, senior associate with Orland Park-based Linden Group, presented architectural designs and answered questions about the plan.

Little League officials provided suggestions before the designs were put to a vote.

Among the changes Little League official Roland Raffin asked for was the addition of a fourth batting cage. The cages will be constructed near Little League fields C and D and a new parking lot. They will be shared by Babe Ruth, girls’ softball and Little League teams this summer.

Three more batting cages will be built during 2014 for Babe Ruth teams near their new ball fields on the southeast portion of the ball field area in back of Munster High School.

The 2013-14 project also will include relocating Little League fields A and C, building a new field D and upgrading field B. All will include dugouts, field lighting, fencing, ball field surface and irrigation.

Three of the fields will be bid out as one package, while the fourth will have a separate bidding process.

A new Little League press box and restroom will be built between the B and D fields as a separate bid package at that time. These will be funded through money from the tax increment financing district and existing park bonds, Town Manager Tom DeGiulio said.

A storage building also will be bid separately using park bond funds this construction season.

Parking lots to be used by Munster High School and park visitors near the ball field will cost $100,000 and will be paid for out of gaming revenue.

The project also includes renovation of the concession stand.

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