Summer night lights |

Summer night lights

Howelsen Park ballfield's makeover continues

Melinda Mawdsley

Howelsen Park is getting a makeover.

Multiyear renovation plans continued this fall with the installation of a new Musco lighting system at Vanatta Field, the ball field between Howelsen Lodge and the chair lift.

After redoing the backstops last year and the infields a couple of years ago, the lighting systems were next on the improvement list for Howelsen Park, city Parks Supervisor Ernie Jenkins said.

“It will be brighter lights with less fixtures and less electricity, so we’ll save on energy costs,” Jenkins said. “Someday, we hope to do (all the fields). The lighting we have there is old and outdated and difficult to maintain.”

The new lighting system is similar to the ones used at the Ski Town fields and Steamboat Springs High School. The six new steel poles — and new fixtures — cost $120,000 and will replace the wooden poles currently overlooking Vanatta.

“We think everyone will notice,” Jenkins said. “It’s like when we redid (one of) the infields, everyone wanted to play on that field. We hope it has the same effect.”

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Jenkins said the new lights will have “practically half as many” fixtures than the older models but will give off more light.

“These light fixtures will just light up the field,” he said. “They are good at directing the light right where they want it.”

The old lighting system at Vanatta had given the Steam–boat Springs Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department the most maintenance problems, which is why the field is the first to get new lights, Jenkins said.

“Eventually, we want to do all new lights and a new sprinkler system,” he said.

Between Triple Crown and local adult recreational league softball games, Howelsen Park hosts more than 900 games in three months during the summer, Jenkins said.

“This will really benefit the locals,” Jenkins said. “We play all of our games at night.”