City pledges $100K for athletic facilty

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The City of Brewton voted Monday to be a pinch hitter for part of the $246,000 needed to do all the planned upgrades in the $1.715 T.R. Miller High School athletic complex renovation project.
In April, it was announced that construction costs increased to $1.96 million for the project that would see new lighting, home fan seating, handicap-accessible walkways and a new press box at the football and new fencing, lighting, dugouts, concession stand and bathroom at the baseball field.
To “make the numbers work,” school officials elected to cut the baseball field concession stand and bathrooms. Superintendent Lynn Smith said previously that the components would be built “when money becomes available.”
The city council pledged up to $100,000 of those funds Monday; however, not every councilman was onboard.
“I feel that (by allocating the money) it’s going to hurt the city’s reserve fund,” Councilman Pat Poole said. “Each year, the city gives the schools $1 million, and I feel that they should build within their budget. There are other projects in the city that money could be used for.”
Smith said Tuesday that Mayor Yank Lovelace was enthusiastic about the project.
“I spoke with the mayor about the parts of the project that we weren’t able to do,” he said. “The city uses the baseball field for its Babe Ruth stuff, which because of the work, had to be moved to East Brewton this summer, and the city uses the football field for its youth football program.
“(Lovelace) asked me to keep him informed and to put down what our needs were and the city would see what they could do,” he said. “We are most appreciative of their willingness to help.”
According to the resolution, the board of education submitted a letter to the city on April 21 requesting $200,000 to help make up the shortfall.
“A belief is held strongly that assistance from the City of Brewton combined with contributions from private citizens would provide funds needed to complete the planned athletic facility improvements and would be beneficial for the City of Brewton, Brewton City Board of Education and local citizens,” was declared as the city’s motivation behind “stepping up to the plate.”
On Tuesday, work was ongoing at the fields. The press box has been removed and visible signs of progress are all around.
Fred Chambliss with Amity Construction Company, Inc., the construction company working on the project at TRM, said, “Upon completion of the entire project at some time in the future T. R. Miller will have a first class athletic facility.”

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