News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Renovations are scheduled to be finished this week at Maxlong Recreational Complex in Sebring. New aluminum dugouts and covered spectator pavilions have been installed.
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published: Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Revamped Max Long ready for kids to play ball
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- A nearly complete overhaul and upgrades await ballplayers and fans alike at Max Long Recreational Sports Complex in Sebring.
City Council and staff met with Max Long representatives beginning early June to discuss the renovations that would take place.
The project was taken on by local companies Hawk Enterprises and Trinity Development, both of Sebring.
Jim Hawkins, owner of Hawk Enterprises, stated that the renovations were definitely needed.
"It was a smart move for (the city). It will boost revenue for the city. People will be coming here for games, they'll stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants. It's going to be a great thing," said Hawkins.
The project began several weeks ago with the demolition of the old cement block dugouts and bleachers around each of the fields. Shortly after, Hawk Enterprises and Trinity stepped in to complete the project.
The renovation began on June 21 and wrapped on Friday, according to Hawkins.
"We installed 12 roofovers and eight spectator bleachers. They are a huge improvement to the old concrete ones. People and visitors love our fields, they always brag about them and compliment them. They only complaint we ever got was the dugouts. It was just no ventilation and they were very hot," Hawkins said.
With the new dugouts, breezes are easily circulated giving players and coaches ample ventilation and safety during the hot summer months.
For the past two days, Hawkins and the team of workers have been back at the fields for last-minute fine tuning for upcoming games and events.
"They're having opening ceremonies (for Dixie state baseball tournaments) on Friday so we are just doing last-minute checks and things, but we are basically done," Hawkins said.
The project came together at the hands of local contractors, developers and volunteers. Other companies and businesses added their contribution to the project, some even at no cost.
"Carl Cool of Cool Engineering up in Avon Park, he did all the planning and engineering at no cost. He said to me, 'Well if it's for the ball fields I'll help, I'll do it. My grandson plays out there,''' Hawkins said.
Other volunteers, including Dixie Youth Baseball coaches, affiliates, players and family members all did their part to ensure the improvements went smoothly.
"I truly believe that there is no way this job would've gotten done with any outside contractors. It's all be done by local workers. I know the concrete guy, I know the fencing guy. The city worked great with us. We had so much cooperation, they got the purchase orders out in a timely manner. Andrew Bible, who works with Dixie Youth, he's just a blessing to work with. Everybody got along and it just made the job easy to get done," said Hawkins.
Improvements to the complex were completed through an interlocal agreement between the county and the city. Each of the three parties (the third being Dixie Youth) contributed a percentage of funds to complete the renovations.
"The city needs to continue this, in my opinion. Keep the work here, keep the money here. They should use local business and contractors instead of outside bids," Hawkins said. "They (kids) deserve this. Those kids are talented and have made us proud. They will likely continue winning and bringing a name to this community and this county."
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