Sports Complex light pole project kicks off talk of eventually revitalizing entire facility

Two poles are beyond their 30-year lifespan and need to be replaced, and lights atop the new poles need to be upgraded to be safer and more energy efficient.
Aging lighting at the La Quinta Sports Complex needs to be replaced, and the city is working on it. The red circles here indicate two light poles that are being replaced.

A planned fix for lighting issues at popular La Quinta sports fields may eventually lead to a complete revamp of the facility.

Driving the news: At its regular meeting last week, the La Quinta City Council approved allocating an additional $50,000 in Measure G funds to help pay for removal and replacement of two failing light poles at the Sports Complex. The additional money is needed, city staff wrote in a report, to help offset increased costs for materials as well as interim pole support or temporary lighting.

  • Funding for the entire $250,000 project was included in the 2022/2023 capital improvement program budget.

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At issue: Two poles are beyond their 30-year lifespan and need to be replaced, and lights atop the new poles need to be upgraded to be safer and more energy efficient. The lighting was first installed in 2014, leading to concerns from neighbors that it lead to light pollution.

Why it matters: The sports fields are heavily utilized by the La Quinta Youth Sports Association in the evenings for youth baseball and softball activities, as well as school activities for the adjacent La Quinta Middle School and Harry Truman Elementary School.

Bigger picture: The popularity of the sports fields, as well as those at Colonel Mitchell Middle School, led to discussion by council members about how best to address future needs of those who participate in youth sports.

  • “I think it’s important that we take a real serious look at this sports complex and look at a long term planning process to bring this perhaps into the twenty-first century,” said Councilmember Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

  • Added Mayor Linda Evans, speaking about the Colonel Mitchell facility: “I’ve been getting a lot of photos and complaints regarding that field. (I)t’s a joint use agreement with the school district for all the soccer and Friday night lights, and anything under the sun is happening there. The grass never gets a break and there’s gophers, and we do have some work to do.”

Next steps: For now, only the new lighting at the Sports Complex is moving forward. That work, performed by Ace Electric, should be completed by September.

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