Town Councilors were not ready to approve having temporary lights at Arsenal Park to help the Watertown Youth Soccer program deal with its growing number of players.
On Tuesday night, the Town Council discussed putting the lights at the park, but the majority felt that there are too many questions remaining to give approval.
Watertown Youth Soccer has 669 players, from 600 families, in the program, said President Mark Leonard. That number is up from 400 players three years ago, and the program does not have enough field space for all the teams, Leonard said.
After discussing where temporary lights could go in town, the Human Services subcommittee looked at Arsenal Park as the best place, Councilor Aaron Dushku, a member of the Human Services subcommittee said. While the lights would be for the soccer program, other youth sports would benefit because it would free up other fields, he added.
While there are not many homes around the park, there is a condominium complex overlooking the area. Resident Dan Eisenberg said he worries about the light coming into the windows of his bedroom, which overlooks the park.
Among the outstanding questions is how much it would cost, who would pay for it and who would be responsible for running the lights. In addition, the park falls under the oversight of the Watertown Conservation Commission, and they had not been asked about the lights, said Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon.
Because they would be temporary, they lights would be run by generators. Someone would have to fuel the generators.
The cost of renting the lights for two months would cost an estimated $14,000, Town Treasurer Joseph DiVito told the subcommittee, and an employee who could operate the equipment would need to be there, which be $180 for four hours. Each tank of fuel would cost nearly $340, and would last about 8 hours, DiVito told the subcommittee.
Dushku said those numbers are for six sets of lights, but they might be able to do with just four. He said they would be used three nights a week for 2-3 hours.
The season has started, and Councilor Tony Palomba – chair of the Human Services subcommittee – if the Council approved the concept, the details could be worked out by the town departments (Department of Public Works and the Recreation Department) and Watertown Youth Soccer. He proposed approving the lights with the condition that the Conservation Commission must approve it too.
Without knowing how the lights would be paid for, Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said he would have a hard time approving the lights.
Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she would no support it without giving all neighbors the opportunity to weigh in on the idea.
Town Council President Mark Sideris proposed sending the proposal to the Conservation Commission for its approval.
The Council voted unanimously to refer the question of temporary lights to the Conservation Commission, and also include the town departments, Watertown Youth Soccer and neighbors of the park in the discussion.