Light work is a home run at Veteran's Field

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Saturday, July 2, 2011
— Getting the lights fixed at Veteran's Field in Riverside Park had been on Bob Schenck's "to do" list for seven years.

This week the president and manager of the American Legion Baseball team was able to check it off his list after 60 new, 1,500-watt, energy-efficient bulbs were installed in fixtures 80 feet above the field.

"It's a big improvement and definitely added a safety factor," he said. "You can't not notice it. It's way brighter and better."

Schenck gave Dan Davis credit for the improvements.

Davis, who is one of Janesville's deputy police chiefs and a big baseball fan, has been involved with local baseball for years.

He gave the credit to others.

"I was at a game earlier this summer of my nephew's son when I noticed how dark it was on the field and mentioned it to Schenck," he said.

That's when Davis learned Schenck had been trying to get the lights fixed for some time but couldn't find the money.

Janesville Parks Director Tom Presny said the field was cut from the city's park operating budget this year when American Legion Baseball leased it and took over maintenance responsibilities.

As part of the lease agreement, the city was responsible for getting the field in game-ready condition, he said.

Replacing nine dead bulbs was on the city's list of repairs and was expected to cost about $500.

"We knew we had some lights out and some duty to replace them, but as we got looking into it realized it could be a bigger project than expected in terms of age, lights, fixtures and ballasts," Presny said.

Davis connected with Mike Richardson of Badger Electric and Rick Turner of Rock River Steel, who were willing to donate time, equipment and expertise to repair the lights.

Richardson told Davis that it would be best to replace all 60 bulbs—not just the nine burned out bulbs.

Davis collected donations from Parker and Craig booster clubs and the Janesville Morning Rotary. The city kicked in the $500 it would have cost the parks department to replace the nine dead bulbs.

Presny estimated the value of the team effort at $4,000.

"It ensures safe and playable field conditions for years to come and provides the savings both to the city as well as to American Legion Baseball," he said.

Presny credited Davis with getting the project done.

"Dan was the one who wove this all together," he said.

Davis deflected the credit.

"That's a beautiful park and a great baseball diamond. I've got years of enjoyment out of it, both my boys played there and there's a lot of kids in the community who get to use it. That's why we wanted to see if we could put this together and fix it."

Last updated: 5:58 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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