BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – As work continues on the second phase of the Chambers Field Project, Bronxville residents remain split on the key divisive issue: whether or not lights should be installed at the field.
A coalition of Bronxville parents have come together to support the Board of Education’s decision to undertake a feasibility study regarding the viability of lighting at Chambers Field.
Despite the fervent support from some locals, a separate group of residents have raised concerns about the lights, citing health risks, decreased quality of life and home values.
“Even if we ignore what an eyesore the lights will be, you have to look at the bigger picture. There will be light pollution and it will change the character of our little village,” Bronx River Road resident Joy Bellamy said. “We need to worry about the big picture, not just how to help a small group of [residents.]”
The feasibility study will determine whether proposed lighting will meet state requirements that govern environmental impact on the area. No decision has been made regarding the lights, and the public will have continued opportunity to share their comments and concerns of the project at future school board meetings.
The coalition that is pro-lights believes that it is important for the children of the village to have access to the field at night. Chambers Field is one of the few places available in the village for sport practices and games, although sport participation has increased in recent years.
Last year, 415 middle and high school students played organized school sports, an increase of 35 percent from a decade ago.
Molly Hendrick, who is a part of the group of Bronxville residents rallying in support of the lights, said that she and the coalition have crafted a position statement regarding the study.
“There has been a group that wanted to pursue lights in 2005 when the turf field was installed,” she said. “As our kids have grown and started playing for the school teams, we see the limited field space our school has, and we think it is necessary to consider lights again. “
Adding lights to the field could serve as a boon for students and parents alike. It would increase the viability of the field, allowing more teams to practice longer, under the lights. Presently, games need to start no later than 4:15 p.m., to avoid the cover of darkness, a problem that could be avoided if lights were to be installed, allowing working parents to make it to games more easily.
Lights would also provide Bronxville Athletic Director Karen Peterson greater scheduling flexibility.
When varsity teams have successful seasons and earn home field advantage in the playoffs, student-athletes are forced to miss time in class to fit games in during daylight hours. Lights would also permit games and practices to be moved around standardized testing that takes place on Saturday mornings.
The feasibility study is just one of several projects that will revamp Chambers Field this summer. The second phase of the Chambers Field Project includes the construction of a new concession stand and installation of new bleachers and press box.
All of the work being done has been supported through private donations and grants from the Bronxville School Foundation.
Let us know where you stand on the proposed lights in the comments section.
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