The games have already begun at Wellesley’s revamped Lee softball field even before players have had a chance to pitch, hit or field on it.
Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC), responding to a bunch of emails received about glaring lights atop the new dugouts at night, didn’t futz around at its meeting this past week. They voted to get rid of the lights and the fixtures.
“The lights are not exactly what the board had agreed upon…really big, really bright,” said Katie Griffith, NRC Chair.
NRC Director Brandon Schmitt said he had already spoken to the DPW to get the plugs pulled on the lights and discussions are taking place to ensure that appropriate lighting (shielded LEDs, etc.) is used at the multipurpose and renamed Diane P. Warren Field on which construction has yet to begin.
The NRC voted to get the fixtures on the Lee Field dugouts removed altogether to eliminate the temptation for someone a couple of years down the road to stick lights back into the fixtures.
As one abutter who called in reminded the board, whether any lights should have been installed in the first place was debatable. An argument had been made that some sort of lighting could have been useful for coaches who needed to read materials on overcast days, but the dugouts have been designed in a wide-open fashion and cellphone flashlights could probably do the trick if occasional lighting was needed, she said.
Time tracker: We watched the NRC Meeting this week so you didn’t have to. We spent at least 90 minutes watching it and another 90 minutes summarizing highlights in this post and this post about Morses Pond beach. If you find this independent news service valuable, please consider contributing to The Swellesley Report. Thanks!
The NRC’s Laura Roberts acknowledged that the Commission needed to do a better job, when there are changes to a project (like the dugout design being more open), to think about how those changes affect other components of the project and let partners like the Department of Public Works know this at the time. “Now with the open dugout design the lights are not necessary,” she said, citing “spillage and light trespass” because of the way the lights are positioned on the pitched roof of the dugouts.
“The sooner the better that we just remove the lights and fix this problem and stop the worry from our environmentalists who have concerns that do align with our mission,” Roberts said. The NRC should have done a better job of educating its partners on the project about light pollution and other issues, she added.
The vote by NRC members was unanimous: Get rid of the lights and fixtures.
“We will take that off the plate, no pun intended…” Griffith said, wrapping up the discussion.