You’ve already heard about PBSF’s commitment to ensuring that the Blair Park Sports Fields project is approved by the City Council. We’re working with many other youth sports organizations and community leaders on this effort and we’re hopeful that Blair Park will become a reality in the near future. However, Blair Park is only part of the solution when it comes to addressing the shortage of usable field space for our local youth baseball and softball players.
We’re writing today to ask for your assistance in supporting the other half of the solution-field lighting at Coaches Field. This issue is on the agenda for the March 21, 2011 Piedmont City Council meeting along with Blair Park and it’s very important for baseball and softball supporters to make their voices heard both in advance of the meeting as well as during public testimony.
Please review the following facts regarding why we need to support lights at Coaches Field:
• As many of you already know, there is a severe shortage of available practice slots before daylight savings time. For proper baseball skill development, teams for 9 year olds and up should practice twice a week but due to the popularity of our baseball and softball programs this just isn’t possible. In 10 years PBSF enrollment has grown from 100 to 600 kids! We have opted to decrease practice slots rather than “cut” kids.
• Blair Park will be a great addition as a practice field for kids 10 and under, but the dimensions won't work for 11 and older. This is why we need lights at Coaches Field.
• Look at what has happened this year: From January through Mid-March, practice slots were especially limited due to darkness. Games for the older kids started in February, so many older teams were forced to use Havens and Beach for non-hitting practices. This then prevented the younger kids from starting practices until mid-March. Lights would not only expand the use of Coaches for older kids it would return Havens and Beach to the younger players for practice and basic skill development (and this is the most important priority for the league)
• The city already budgeted for Field Lights at Coaches three years ago and the money is still there.
• The neighborhood impact of field lighting at Coaches Field is minimal. Expert lighting studies in both 1986 and 2008 cite minimal and reasonable aesthetic intrusion, especially given the very limited usage of the lighting. (Monday - Thursday, off by 9pm, only limited weeks during the year.)