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Controversy Over Kehler Field Lights Continues

Controversy Over Kehler Field  Lights Continues

     For many years there has been an ongoing debate whether lights should be installed in Kehler Field at Westfield High School. Obviously, putting lights in the stadium would allow athletes to participate in sports after daylight hours. But many residents of Westfield don’t like the idea of adding lights to the field and believe it will negatively impact their lives. 

     For example, when temporary lights were placed at Kehler Stadium, multiple residents near the field complained at a follow up Board of Education meeting.  According to TapIntoWestfield, “During public discussion several residents living near Kehler Field voiced their displeasure with the bright lights in their area caused by the temporary lighting fixtures at the stadium. Their primary concerns were the height of the lights, loud noise caused by the generator and the volume of night activity on the field.”  Additionally, some residents in town raised concerns about the cost of the project and whether it would result in another increase in taxes.  

     However, people who favored the idea argued that the positives outweigh the negatives.  For instance, the installation of lights would allow kids to practice and play games much later into the day, which would ease the problem of field availability, which is a constant issue with so many sports teams in town.  As 7th grade teacher and JV soccer coach, Mrs. Helwig explained, “Yes, lights would be beneficial for all athletes in the fall and the spring because it would offer more practice time, give the opportunity for night games, and probably draw larger crowds. So, more teams will be able to practice there and teams would be able to play there at night.” 

     Ultimately, the idea of adding lights to Kehler Field was rejected by residents of Westfield, and for now it will not be happening.  Despite the benefits for kids and athletes in town, taxpayers felt there were too many negatives involved with the plan.  However, even though the decision is final, and Kelher Field won’t receive lights, the debate throughout Westfield will certainly continue for years to come. 

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