Whitefish Bay residents fight against baseball field lights

CREATED Feb 18, 2013

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WHITEFISH BAY - Right now, there is only one light at Craig Counsell Park, and that's exactly how a lot of families in this neighborhood want it. But if the little league gets its way, little ones will be playing under the lights in Whitefish Bay.

“It's frustrating, it's definitely frustrating,” said Maressa Sullivan.

Sullivan lives on Lydell Avenue and her street leads right to the baseball fields at Craig Counsell park, where the little league wants to install lights so games can be played at night.

“Right now we're dealing with some issues in the current little league season where people are blocking our driveways parking in,” said Sullivan. “This is going on in a shorter period of time, but with the lights going up, that could add to the problems."

The issue was brought up at a joint planning commission and village board meeting Monday night. Sullivan is a little league fan, but her fear is if lights go up, so will the number of safety concerns she already sees on the dead end street...speeding, parking, and kids running around after sunset.

“We want them to be able to ride their bikes down the street without feeling like someone's going to pull in our driveway and hit them with their cars we want to be able to have people over and enjoy our summers like everybody else does."

Josh Levy is the president of the Whitefish Bay Little League. He thinks the lights will be good for the growing league and for the teams trying to squeeze in all their games during daylight hours.

“the lights will allow us to move those games back about 75 minutes and start those games later, let people get off work and then come to the games,” said Levy.

The proposal would allow lights to stay on as late as 10 p.m. during the summer season.

“There would be only two games at a time, not three like we would normally have,” he added. “And we've proposed some parking restrictions that would maybe ease the burden to those residents."

The league offered to pay for the lights, but Sullivan believes that could be at the expense of neighborhood safety.

Only one person in the audience Monday night spoke in favor of the plan. In the end, the commission wasn't sold. They unanimously voted to deny the lighting request, and directed staff to look into traffic issues in the area.