Westside to get its ball field -- finally
It took an end run around some hard budget numbers but almost 18 months after Ben Preston announced that baseball was back at Westside Park, Deerfield Beach commissioners approved funding – and the project finally can get under way.
It was September 18 of 2012 when they voted to spend $1.2 million to redevelop what now is a multi-purpose field at Westside Park. Shortly thereafter, the project was discussed as being in two phases. Finally, on Tuesday, after making adjustments in some individual items within the budget, Deerfield Beach commissioners approved the $641,362.23 appropriation to make it happen.
“They couldn’t complete the thing in one phase,” explained Preston. “All of the money doesn’t go to that one project. This time, when CDBG funds came in that became the priority.”
Making it a priority, however, took some doing, and acceptance by commissioners of the proposition that the athletic field would “principally benefit lower income residents of the City of Deerfield Beach.”
Approval of the amendments to prior Community Development Block Grant plans eliminated a $25,000 appropriation for community outreach; eliminated $25,000 for the Graduate Equivalency Diploma program, now under way at the Central City Campus; eliminated $25,000 for senior transporation and $75,000 for a commercial façade program – adding $335,543.04 to funds for Westside Park Phase II, a project that will redevelop what now is a multipurpose field for a Little League program so popular that teams sometimes travel to Pompano Beach to play.
But those teams need not warm up any time soon, cautioned Charles DaBrusco, director of Public works and environmental services.
“It takes 45 days for permits, if everything goes smoothly, and there is a four-month construction period,” he said. “Then there is a 60-day grow-in period for grass.”
And even then there could be delays.
“This is not exactly the growing season,” he said.