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Little League Lights Topic of Ward 2 Public Hearing Today

Ward 2 Councilman Jeff Peters will lead a meeting to discuss issues surrounding the proposed lights at the North Canton Little League field. That meeting starts at 4 p.m. today.

Editor's note: Tonight's meeting has been canceled. Check back with North Canton Patch for more information.

City officials hope to broker an agreement between the North Canton Little League and Ward 2 residents during a public hearing today.

Ward 2 Councilman Daniel "Jeff" Peters said he hopes residents and Little League officials can settle their differences about proposed overhead lighting at the fields.

The meeting kicks off at 4 p.m. inside Council Chambers in North Canton City Hall, 145 N. Main St. It follows a public hearing that took place Monday night inside City Council Chambers in which residents and Little League officials shared their insights into the addition of the lights.

But, the addition of overhead lighting isn't just about the nuisance of lights when it comes to nearby residents. Residents are concerned 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.

"I quickly realized it really wasn't the lights that was the issue," Peters said Tuesday. "It was everything else."

Peters said city administration had made a promise to one resident — who lives closest to the fields and has been a vocal opponent to the lights — when the lease was signed years ago. Overhead lighting is not included in the lease.

The resident was under the impression mounds 18-24 feet high would be created along Maple Street to act as sight and sound barriers, Peters said. And trees would be placed on those mounds. Peters said the mounds now are 4-6 feet high. 

Peters said he and Councilwoman-at-large Stephanie Snow-Werren will attend the meeting as well as Paul Young, treasurer of the North Canton Little League, and other city officials.

"I think we can get a resolution pretty quickly," he said.

Council will hear from the Little League's Board of Directors at its Feb. 19 meeting. Council President Jon Snyder said the board will have put together details about the lights and when the lights will be used, among other information.

Chuck Osborne February 06, 2013 at 11:37 AM
I think everyone is forgetting the larger picture and that is the fact that the North Canton Little League ball field is the site of a City well field. The designation of the area as a public park is supposed to prevent development and protect the aquifer below. The designation of any area as public parkland brings with it the presumption that the government will maintain the park property as Green Space. Park land and Green space goes hand in hand. Not widespread development with buildings, parking lots, and large numbers of people converging and trampling nature with lights ablaze into the night. Secondly, I have concerns that nineteen acres of public park land have been handed over to a select few for their exclusive use. The Hoover Company gave the citizens of North Canton this acreage for the enjoyment of all North Canton citizens and stipulated that the property be used exclusively for a public park. There is nothing in the terms of the gift that allows use of the property by a select few who are not citizens of North Canton to use as they see fit. North Canton residents are being denied the peaceful use of a public park and are losing the Green space that the park was intended to provide. Lastly, all of the activity and proposed development on the property further complicates security of the City’s well field and underlying aquifer. None of these concerns can be negotiated away and be true to the citizens of North Canton.
Todd Evans February 06, 2013 at 07:05 PM
It seems that this article is arguing that there should not be a Little League complex at all at its present location. Wow. I will personally invite anyone who has not been to our opening ceremonies to come, stay, and watch the kids play the games. Where is our commitment to youth opportunities to engage in a physical activity in a team setting? If there was no North Canton Little League off Maple Street, it would be a tremedous loss to the youth of our community. Why can't we put our youth first for a change? I wonder if those who make these arguments have ever played Little League or other youth sports themselves or had children or grandchildren who played. I have travelled to fields across Northeast Ohio; there is no Little League complex as nice as our facility. We should be proud of our complex and the achievements and comittment of our players. I have heard several parents from other teams during tournaments say that our facility was great, but wondered why we did not have lights. The only thing I envy from Green's complex is their lights, which allow games to be finished in Spring and Fall. Lights also reduce the risk of injury to our youth due to playing in fading light. Kids enjoy playing under lights. I know because I have witnessed their enthusiam when we played under the lights at Green on occasion. With all of the trouble that kids can get into after dark these days, playing baseball under lights is not something that I stay up late worrying about.

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