Ball field's neighbors want council to see the light


Ball field lights at Westminster Jaycees Park are so bright that neighbors sometimes don't need to turn on lights in their homes, two residents have told the City Council.

The Whispering Meadows residents, who brought a petition with about 50 signatures supporting their complaint, told council members Monday night that they want the city to make changes so their homes are not flooded with light.

The council agreed to consider the issue and discuss it at its next meeting on Aug. 8. The city could realign the lights or buy shields that would direct light on the fields and away from homes.

Some council members said it was the first time they were told that more than one resident was disturbed by the lights, which were installed last summer at the park off Uniontown Road.

In May, the council agreed unanimously not to take any action on the issue because members believed that Whispering Meadows resident Carrie McFadden was the only person who had complained, Council President Kenneth A. Yowan said.

Ms. McFadden said that she first complained about the lights in August to Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and that he told her there was money available to buy shields for three lights. She said she was a spokeswoman for the neighborhood.

Mayor Brown said Monday that he told Ms. McFadden that he would look into the cost and, since it was near the end of the summer, that any changes would be made this year. He said each shield would cost about $200.

He said the city had approved installing shields on lights at the wastewater treatment plant after a neighbor complained and that it wouldn't have made sense to tell Ms. McFadden the city did not have $600 to spend on shields for lights at Jaycees Park.

Mr. Yowan said that when the council considered the issue in May, the price for the shields was between $8,000 and $10,000.

Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. noted that the council, not the mayor, has the power to decide how city money will be spent.

He said council members should meet at the park one night to see how bright the lights are and where they shine.

Mr. Yowan said he drove by the park after Monday's meeting.

"They're bright lights, but it is a ball field," he said yesterday. "For every person who is upset at the lights, there are other people who want more lights. You can't win. We'll see what we can do."

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein thanked Ms. McFadden and Whispering Meadows resident Cathy Markey for bringing the petition.

"There is great regard for the neighborhood. You have our attention. We want to take care of community problems," Ms. Orenstein said.

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