Last night’s Montclair BOE meeting covered the results from the Montclair Public Schools District Climate Survey Results (pictured above) as well as a discussion about GAFE (Google Apps For Education), but there was one topic that dominated the meeting, especially in terms of the public commenting period, and it was the use of temporary lights at Woodman Field last Thursday, during a first-ever night game for Montclair football, a move that some residents living in the area of the field vehemently opposed.
Prior to the start of the public comment period, the BOE’s David Deutsch stated that the game was moved to Thursday night because it was originally scheduled for Yom Kippur. He also added that the decision to hold game at night was supported by BOE as a one-time decision and that any future decisions about night games would involve the community. He added that the BOE would not make a decision about permanent lights at any field in Montclair before consulting the public first.
Then, one by one, speakers came to the podium to discuss the use of lights at a historic night game last Thursday night. Some were in support of the lights and others against.
Those who made an argument for the lights, described the histroic night game as an amazing experience. “As I sat in the stands, between band and students, it was a great experience to see the community coming together,” said Peter, a resident from Midland Ave.”
Will Young, president of the Montclair Cobras junior football league, said the one thing Montclair is missing that other communities have is Friday Night Lights. Another speaker, for the Gridiron Club, said the lights are not just for football, but would enable other sports teams to have safer practices. Robert Bigel shared how kids board a bus and go to Montclair State to practice because there are no lights.
“Montclair plays games 4-5 home games a year, and not all are at night,” said James Eason, adding, “but we need lights for practice.”
Many pro-light speakers also cited the argument that residents complaining about lights chose to buy houses near a playing field.
Many of the residents who spoke out to oppose lights at Woodman field, said that while they love football and sports (many adding that they have children in sports), communication about the night game was poor and notice was not given to residents until a day before the game.
Brad Harsh, who voiced opposition to the installation of any permanent lights at Woodman, said there were incidents of kids setting off fireworks, trespassing across properties, jumping over fences and an instance of urinating on a lawn. “Teens behave differently at night and the police couldn’t stop it,” said Harsh.
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