Community Impact, Cost At Issue in Lighting FH Sports Fields

February 3, 2012

FAIR HAVEN — The prospect of installing permanent lighting at borough sports fields is still in the wait and see stage.

As Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande explained it at last Monday’s borough council meeting, the Recreation Commission voted in December to reject the installation of permanent lighting at some borough playing fields.

In three votes the commission voted 5-0 against the lights for two basketball courts at the borough’s youth center, 35 Fisk Street; and again opposed placing permanent lights at a basketball court at McCarter Park, McCarter Road, Casagrande noted, referring to the commission’s December report.

But the commission approved the installation of permanent lights at the Fair Haven baseball field by a vote of 4-1 and also approved temporary lighting for one of the youth center courts, and the court at McCarter, along with lights for the parking lot at Fair Haven Fields, “For the purpose of assessing the community interest in a lighted recreation facility as well as to understand the impact of such a facility on the community,” according to the commission report.

Robert Krueger, the commission chair, said this week there are issues related to the installation of permanent lights, primarily the cost, the  infrastructure required to support it and any increased attendance, and the possible impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. “We’re only a mile-and-a-half, a mile-and-a-quarter square,” he said of the community. “We can’t address all of that and we certainly can’t support that from a financial standpoint.”

The commission had a similar discussion about 10 years ago and determined the cost of installing permanent lighting could be considerable, Krueger recalled, though he couldn’t remember the actual number.

As a compromise the plan would be to use portable lights at a couple of locations. “Once we do that and see how it goes then we could make a recommendation,” he said.

Funding for the lights are not in the current budget, Administrator Casagrande reminded the council last week. But, “We’ll bring it back for a future workshop,” for further discussion, she said.





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