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Let There Be Light? Residents Not So Sure of Overhead Lights at Little League Fields

Several residents who live near the North Canton Little League fields spoke out against the possible addition of overhead lights at the city council meeting Monday night

Let there be light? 

Residents living near the North Canton Little League fields aren't so sure about that one.

When North Canton City Council announced it would consider a change to the league's lease agreement, allowing overhead lights so athletes could play at night, residents were ready to share their concerns. 

At its Monday night meeting, council heard from several residents who just didn't think it was a good idea.

They said nighttime play would increase the number of cars in the parking lot, which fills quickly, causing people to park illegally in the neighborhoods and walk to the ball fields. It would also mean they would hear the loud speaker after dark.

Another concern — this one from nearby resident Dell Pucci — was that the nighttime play would increase police calls to the fields.

"We do not need those disturbances after dark," Pucci said.

Taking a different viewpoint, Barbara McCallan said the benefits the athletes see from being able to play there outweighs whatever inconvenience the ball fields cause to residents.

"In my lifetime, I've learned to tolerate it. I've learned to live with it," she said.

Council originally thought the lights would only be at one field (field No. 8), but Monday night they said field Nos. 1, 2 and 8 would potentially get lights. The cost would be covered by the North Canton Little League.

Carl Young, league treasurer, said the season lasts about 75 days, and it only gets dark early a few weeks in the season. The league would implement a rule that no inning starts after 9:30 p.m., and games would end by 10 p.m.

And, Young said residents most likely would not be affected by lights because they only shine down onto the field, and hills and trees will block light from the road and from nearby homes.

The league needs the lights because it's often had to call games early because of the darkness.

The lights also would give North Canton the chance to host state tournaments, League President Gary Giammarco said.

"These people come up and spend money in the community," he said. "Sometimes these people have to come back Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

Council had placed the change to the lease on the agenda for Monday night but did not have a first reading because of residents' concerns. Council President Jon Snyder said council will discuss the lights again at its Jan. 22 meeting, which had been moved from Jan. 21 to observe Martin Luther King Day.

Morgan Day January 15, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Great comment from Danielle Romary Herzog on Facebook: "I live right by these ball fields. Let the kids have the lights and play at night. As a mom of 2 boys I hope to be spending many nights at those fields. The kids are staying out of trouble and getting exercise!! If neighbors don't like it...move..."
Jeff W January 16, 2013 at 06:23 PM
There are basically a handful of residents that are the most vocal in their opposition to putting lights at the little league fields. If you have followed it at all, it's very clear who those few folks are. It amazes me that someone suggests that by putting lights up it will cause more trouble at the little league fields, which in turn will mean more police. Really? How did they come up with THAT equation? It's baseball games played by kids for goodness sake!
Holly Pierpont January 17, 2013 at 02:27 AM
We are so blessed to even have this program... Give them light, let them play ball, encourage this positive experience for our kids!

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