Contractors with HRI Inc. are working in earnest on two downtown projects recently approved by City Council.
Dust flew on Market Square, as groundwork was laid for "Bases Loaded," the 10 life-size bronze Little League-affiliated statues of players and coaches on an infield at the corners of West Third and Market streets. It's a tribute envisioned by Jason Fink, vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, who wanted to see a permanent fixture installed during Little League's 75th anniversary.
The same company's workers are resurfacing portions of West Third Street, between William and Basin streets and pulling out broken wooden trolley ties that cause havoc for drivers whenever vehicles travel over the bumpy surface.
Work began on the Bases Loaded project, which will convert the intersection of Market and East Third streets into a baseball diamond in honor of the 75th year of Little League Baseball. Here, HRI Inc. workers begin construction on the first base corner of the intersection. Eddy Berry operates the jackhammer at the first base corner while Cody Waltz shovels debris away.
Fink attended council Thursday on behalf of the chamber as it sought a certificate of appropriateness. Council, in a 6-0 vote, approved the certificate.
Matt Glenn, an artist living in Provo, Utah, is applying the finishing touches. All but one of the statues, as of Friday, had been underwritten. Each cost $30,000, Fink said.
The intersection will be transformed to a Little League infield. Each corner will become a base pad. Eight statues of Little Leaguers will represent first, second and third basemen, a catcher, batter, and first, second and third base runners. A statue of the umpire and manager Carl E. Stotz, the founder of Little League, will round out the artwork. Each position player will represent a significant moment in the history of Little League Baseball.
The project will be unveiled during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Aug. 22, the day of Williamsport Welcomes the World, Fink said.
The project is at the base of the Carl E. Stotz Memorial Little League Bridge. Fink views it as an opportunity to take keepsake photographs and council sees additional economic benefits.
"I see this as a tremendous tourist attraction," Councilwoman Bonnie Katz said. "It not only will allow people to take photographs with the statues but it will draw them downtown to the stores and businesses and restaurants," she told the Sun-Gazette.
Repair work involves patching and removing portions of the road surface to take out trolley ties that cause the surface to be rough. It's a temporary fix until more permanent repairs can be made.
A single lane closure will be in effect and a detour will be provided when paving gets under way, he said Friday.
Repairs should be done between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and the work is expected to be completed before the Little League World Series begins, Fink said.