PHOENIXVILLE — Council decided last week to pursue a grant which would potentially put lights on athletic fields in borough parks.
“We’re one of the largest boroughs in the commonwealth and we don’t have lighted fields,” Borough Manager Jean Krack pointed out to council in its July 8 meeting.
If Phoenixville received the full, $250,000 grant, the intent is to install lighting at the softball fields at both Veteran’s Park and Friendship Field.
The grant is available through the Commonwealth Finance Authority, but Phoenixville would have to match the grant with 30 percent, according to Krack.
Overall, Krack estimates the lighting project to be around $300,000.
Not everyone was enthralled with the idea of putting lights in.
“While I agree with the grant itself, I like that we’re investing in our parks and recreation, I don’t believe that investing in lights is our best use of money,” said Councilman Shai Perednik.
Perednik said he’d rather the money go toward expanding recreational opportunities for children in the parks.
“I personally don’t like the idea of lighting in the sky (at night),” he added. “I like being able to see the town as opposed to being distracted by big lights.”
Council member Mike Kuznar pointed out that having fields open later would allow for more games to be scheduled on fields, boosting revenue for the borough.
“We don’t have lighted fields in the borough, so dusk is our time limit,” said Krack. “We would be able to take events out to the 10 p.m. timeframe.”
Chritopher Bauers, another councilman, said a lot of the borough parks and recreation department’s revenue comes from the town’s softball fields.
Additionally, he said, two fields in Charlestown will be lost to the borough’s teams due to expansion by Valley Forge Christian College.
“I think it is imperative we look forward and find adequate space for the borough to conduct its recreation programs and this is a step in the right direction,” Bauers said.
In a 7-1 vote, with Perednik the lone “no,” council approved applying for the grant.
Any light installation would take place in 2015, not effecting the budget already established for this year.
Check out a recap of last week’s meeting here.