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WORCESTER - A Parks and Recreation Commission subcommittee has endorsed proposed upgrades to Rockwood Field, including lighting for the Jesse Burkett Little League's main baseball field.
The three-member Naming and Land Use subcommittee approved the planned improvements, which include various field and streetscape upgrades, after receiving assurances from league representatives that the field lighting would be directed in such a way so it has little, if any, impact on nearby homes.
League officials said the lighting would allow for extended playing time on the main baseball diamond during the Little League season and make a huge difference when bad weather forces games to be rescheduled.
Jesse Burkett has one of the few Little League fields in the district that does not have lights.
Among those who spoke in favor of the overall park improvements, estimated at $110,000, were District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen and Councilor-at-Large Frederick C. Rushton, as well as several past and present Jesse Burkett officials.
But one neighbor raised concerns about the field lighting, fearing it would impact the quality of life for nearby residents.
Pat Desrosiers of 545 Chandler St. said guidelines need to be put into writing as to how many days a week night games can be played at the field and how late the lights can remain on.
"We need some guidelines," she said. "As homeowners, we have a basic right to quiet enjoyment of our homes. There's got to be a little more give instead of take here. You guys can play, but let us live."
Jesse Burkett officials said the league has worked hard in recent years to be a good neighbor and they intend to keep up those efforts. They promised to respond to any issue neighbors may have about night games.
Robert C. Antonelli, assistant commissioner of public works and parks, said there are several other fields with lighting near homes and few issues have arisen.
"We very rarely get a lot of issues when it comes to lighting," he said. "Instead, what we've seen is a positive impact in the parks. We think this is a wonderful idea and support it."
The subcommittee's recommendation will go before the entire Parks and Recreation Commission for another public hearing.
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