Bad bulbs, fixtures plague Kailua softball field renovation

A bad batch of light bulbs and fixtures is keeping softball players off the field at night.

We first told you about the problems with renovations at Kailua softball field back in February. The work started in August 2012 and was supposed to be done last August.

The city told us then that the lights weren’t bright enough. We’ve now learned why, and what the city is going to do about it.

City taxpayers will not have to pay the extra cost to fix the problem, but softball players will have to sit patiently on the sidelines and live with more delays.

What was supposed to be a field of dreams is becoming a nightmare. New lights would allow softball leagues to play at night, and nearly three years since the renovations began, the lights are still not being turned on.

The city says the new lights still leave a dark gap in the middle of center field.

The contractor installed four poles with eight fixtures each for a total of 32 fixtures and light bulbs. The lights, plus new fencing, cost nearly a million dollars.

But the city says both the bulbs and fixtures are not working as they should.

“Who actually picked these lights?” KHON2 asked.

“It is in the specifications of the project, so it was determined by the design engineer, but we’ve used it at other fields as well and we never had any problems with it,” said Mark Yonamine, deputy director of the city Department of Design and Construction.

So four additional lights will be added as a temporary fix and let softball players use the park at night. But in about a month or two, all the lights will be replaced for a permanent fix, meaning no night games until that’s done.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation. Usually what we do use is from (General Electric). It’s a reliable product and unfortunately these that we got weren’t up to par,” Yonamine said.

“I agree it’s long and I’m not at all happy about that. I know the administration is not happy about that, but we need to ensure that when this is done, finally, that we’re not revisiting this situation again. I’m not at all saying that this is acceptable. It’s not,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kailua.

Yonamine says GE will pay the additional costs for the temporary and permanent fix, and he’s asking softball players for a little more patience.

“Should GE be punished for somehow for giving us these defective lights?” KHON2 asked.

“They are replacing it at their cost,” Yonamine said, adding that even though it will take more time, “they’re stepping up and replacing those lights too, so they know it’s their fault.”

There’s no estimate for how long it will take to do the permanent fix, but the lights will be turned on and night games will be allowed temporarily next month.

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