Gary approves new irrigation pump for RailCats ballpark

A Griffith-based company was hired Wednesday by the Gary Redevelopment Commission to handle the repairs and replacement of the irrigation pump system in place at the city-owned stadium used by the Gary South Shore RailCats baseball club.

The commission, which owns and maintains the ballpark, voted 4-0, with commissioner Marion Johnson absent, to award a contract to Gatlin Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

Redevelopment Executive Director Joseph Van Dyk said the RailCats provided city officials with bids from three companies to handle the project and the Gatlin bid was by-far the lowest.

Gatlin will be paid a maximum of $34,250 for the work, which officials expect to be complete within four to six weeks.

Van Dyk said the pump system at the 17-year-old ballpark has been in place for several years, and it had reached a point of being worn out and was in need of replacement.

“It’s almost at the point of dying,” he said.

The irrigation pump contract was one of two ballpark-related items the city considered on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the city awarded a contract to Kingman, Ariz.-based West Coast Netting to install a new backstop and safety netting in the ballpark.

The ball club initially had expected the new netting to be in place sometime in late May, and the contract paying them $82,000 called for the work to be complete by July 2.

But officials later determined the best time for the team to take down the old safety netting and replace it with new, expanded netting would be during a road trip the RailCats will make in mid-July. The new netting will be extended to offer protection to fans sitting behind the home and visitor team dugouts. Currently, the safety netting offers protection to fans sitting behind home plate.

Redevelopment officials voted Wednesday to extend the contract’s deadline, now giving West Coast Netting until July 31 to complete the work.

The RailCats’ 2018 season, which began May 18, runs through Sept. 3.

Among other improvements made by Gary city officials to the ballpark earlier this year include installation of a new air conditioning system and a marquee outside the ballpark’s main entrance, and a resurfacing of the playing field.

In other business, the commission approved a $14,848 grant to Ono’s Pizza, which will match that amount to pay the cost of a new sign at their location on 720 N. Lake St.

Money will come through the commission’s Façade Improvement Rebate Program, which can provide up to $35,000 for business projects along major thoroughfares. This is the first such grant provided through this program.