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Seaside Park Finalizing Plan to Update Lighting at Ballfield, Tennis Courts

The 14th Avenue playground in Seaside Park, N.J., Oct. 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The 14th Avenue playground in Seaside Park, N.J., Oct. 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Park officials are coming closer to deciding on a much-needed improvement to the lighting at the borough’s ballfield between 13th and 14th avenues – and it appears the most expensive item the project could have encompassed will not need to be replaced.

The lights at the field, which includes tennis courts, a children’s playground and a baseball diamond, have not functioned properly for some time, despite the best efforts of the borough to cobble together components to keep them on. For two years, one baseball league that had used the fields had to move their games elsewhere because the lighting was insufficient. Moreover, officials are concerned the system could even pose a safety risk.

The borough saw renewed focus on the lighting aspect of the improvements to the park after a donor, who prefers to remain anonymous, pledged to donate a new playground worth $174,500 to the site. The benefactor requested they remain anonymous, but did ask the playground equipment be oriented toward children in the 6-12 year-old age group. With officials already having been considering improvements, the lighting project seemed like a logical next-step.

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Borough Administrator Karen Kroon said a company that is part of a state cooperative provided an estimate on what installing new lighting for the complex would entail.

“We explained what we were looking for, on our poles, and they worked diligently to deliver the estimate,” she said, of NGU Lighting Company.

The 14th Avenue playground in Seaside Park, N.J., Oct. 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The 14th Avenue playground in Seaside Park, N.J., Oct. 2022. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The big-ticket item in the project was expected to be the replacement of the physical poles that support the lighting system, with engineers estimating a cost in upwards of $1 million. But the poles, originally made of steel, remain in excellent condition despite some of the lighting components deteriorating around them.

“Replacing the poles alone cost about $1 million,” said Councilman Frank “Fritz” McHugh. “So we had them tested and checked, and they say they are steel and still usable.”

Kroon said replacing the entire electrical system and lighting – sand the poles – would come to about $328,000, significantly less than another estimate that nearly reached the $500,000 mark. The price would include the installation of all-new lights up to current codes and with the latest technology, controllers and switches, support equipment and the disposal of the old lights.

The lights alone, with no installation or disposal, would cost about $175,000.

The governing body is continuing to look into the purchase and coordinate with the cooperative manufacturer. The borough could choose to award a contract to the company through the cooperative a discounted price or place the project out to public bid.

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