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Toss-up: Residents Half For, Half Against Overhead Lights at Little League Field

Council President Jon Snyder said the next step is to wait for more details from the North Canton Little League about when the lights will be used

Lights or no lights at the North Canton Little League fields? It's a true toss-up. 

Twenty-two people spoke at North Canton's public hearing regarding proposed overhead lights, and of those 22 people, 11 were for and 11 were against the addition of the lights.

Now, North Canton City Council awaits a rundown of information from the Little League directors, including when the lights will be in use.

"What I asked to happen is that the directors of the Little League submit to us ... a request of hours they would potentially light the field and what they would do about the loud speaker system and the parking … so we can look at all that," Snyder said, adding council will meet with the board of directors Feb. 19.

That's right; North Canton residents didn't just raise issues with the lights, which they thought might create a nuisance to those who live nearby. Residents also raised concerns with the speaker system as well as lack of parking, which would be compounded if athletes would be playing later into the night.

At council's Jan. 14 meeting, residents 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.

"Really, more than the lights, are the underlying issues with the parking and problem it creates, along with the loud speaker system," Snyder said. "I think that, for the residents, if we address those problems, they would be more inclined to consider — not that they would embrace it — lighting those fields."

The lights would be a change to the current lease, which did not include overhead lighting.

Council members originally thought the lights would only be at one field (field No. 8), but now they said field Nos. 1, 2 and 8 would potentially get lights.

The cost would be covered by the North Canton Little League.

Chuck Osborne February 06, 2013 at 11:39 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 has 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.
Dave S February 06, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Ok, Chuck has some very good points here. Mine are: People, this is a game. Adults ruin it when they get too involved. Some of my best childhood memories of baseball were "pick up" games played on make shift fields. So now we have to build mega fields so a lot of you can live your lives through your children. Why not play in your own league and leave the game to the kids?
John M. February 06, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I agree with Chuck and Dave. Aren't these fields built for the Little Leaguers and do they really need to be playing at night? Maybe spending quality evening time with the family would make more sense. There seems to be plenty of hours during the day to play baseball. Also, we shouldn't create a situation that can bring down the property values of those that live nearby. I don't know of too many people living in North Canton that would relish the opportunity to buy a home and live near a large complex of baseball fields with night lighting and a blaring speaker system .
Todd Evans July 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM
My son and I, Bryce, travelled 4 hours yesterday to Hamilton to watch the 10 year old Williamsport state tournament. Once we got there the 12 noon games were delayed by rain to 5:30. We went to Skyline Chili and then golfing. Since the 12 noon games were delayed to 5:30, the 3:00 games started after them. Thank goodness Hamilton had lights so the tournament could stay on schedule. We are blessed with the best Little League complex that I have seen in Ohio. Our fields are a parkland beauty compared to West Side Hamilton's complex. But they have lights and the fields are in the middle of a neighborhood, very close to houses. In our case, there is a 4 lane street and wet lands between houses and the fields. It is truly a shame when we could make our facility even nicer that some people are against it. If you have the time, go out and watch the 11 year old state tournament, which were are hosting bringing money into the communities as teams have to stay here in some cases up to a week. Perhaps you will have a community pride that I have when I hear great comments about our complex and also our town. Todd Evans
Todd Evans August 06, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Correction East Maple Street is 3 lanes (one turn lane) at the section of the street at issue.

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