Night games at the West Side baseball field are a step closer to reality after Thursday’s meeting of the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education.
The board declared itself lead agency in the environmental review of the project and said that installing the four outdoor lighting towers will not have significant adverse impact to the environment. This process is required under the state environmental Quality Review Act (or SEQRA).
The proposal’s next stop is a filing with the State Education Department.
School Board approval is necessary because the Saratoga National Little League fields are located on the district-owned West Side Recreation complex at Walnut and Division streets.
The project has been under discussion for about 2 years. “There has been no switch left unturned,” School Board President Regina Gapczynski quipped after a short presentation. “The lights look awesome.”
The SNLL still has to raise another $50,000 toward the $100,000 cost of the lights, said League President Derrick Legall. But he’s hopeful funds will be in place in time for the spring 2013 season. If not, he said the league will borrow the remainder.
“We’re halfway there,” Legall said. “We’ve still got a lot of fundraising to do.” Legall said neighbors and the school board have been very supportive of the project.
A representative from Musco Lighting, the company that will install the lights, presented the project to the board Thursday. This is the same company that installed the lights at the high school baseball field on the city’s east side several years ago.
Don Rhuda described the lights as very efficient and with little spillover off the field.
“These are so efficient they effectively eliminate sky glow from the vicinity,” Rhuda told the board. He also described base ball lights as highly regulated for safety by league officials.
The Saratoga Nationals field about 27 teams a year, serving some 300 children from the city’s west and north ends. Legall said lighting the field will mean more games can be played, as kids will be able to play after dark.
The lights will honor the Chubb family, longtime Saratoga athletes and boosters, Legall said. They will be dedicated to the memory of Christopher Chubb, a Saratoga athlete who died in 2007 at age 34, and to his mother Barbara, who died earlier this month. Christopher’s father, Clayton Chubb, was inducted into the high’s school sports hall of fame two years ago, Legall said.
The East Side’s Saratoga American Little League is also in the midst of a lighting campaign. It is has not yet presented a plan to the School Board, which will be necessary because the district owns the East Side Recreation Fields, too.
ON THE WIRE