Lights Project

WPAC letter to park district, alderman, WPPA

During the special meeting on April 26, members of the Welles Park Advisory Council shared their concerns about the Welles Park Parents Association’s proposal to light the baseball and softball fields. The advisory council unanimously voted to table a vote, pending notification from the Chicago Park District and Alderman Matt Martin that each party’s concerns have been addressed and that those results be shared with the PAC.

After the meeting, the WPAC executive committee sent the following letter via email:

Dear representatives of the Chicago Park District, Welles Park Players Association, and Alderman Martin,

The members of the Welles Park Advisory Council have collected the following concerns on behalf of our members and the feedback we’ve received from the community regarding the lighting proposal. When the PAC priorities have been addressed, we feel confident we will be able to reconsider the proposal and complete our voting process which was tabled during our April 26th meeting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. All current members of the PAC are cc’d on this email.

Aaron Durnbaugh
President, WPAC

PAC Priorities:

Lighting Proposal – We ask the Park District to officially communicate that the proposed technology meets the standards for a residential park such as Welles. Concerns including # of lit diamonds, height of poles, and illumination levels should be considered.

Additional events – We understand that once installed, these lights will be available to all users of the park. We request that any proposals; including a curfew time, league arrangements, or the codified permitting process, be shared with the PAC to consider the full impacts. We ask that the CPD and Alderman would seek and consider our position before allowing additional use of the lights beyond the WPPA.

Equity – 2 requests

  1. We ask that WPPA commit to equitable use of the fields, specifically that the night availability be allocated to baseball and softball players equally and each team (age-appropriate) is able to play a night-time game at Welles Park each season. If teams want to play under the lights, they should be given an equitable opportunity.
  2. We ask WPPA to use their considerable resources to increase needs-based scholarships for players, and support an under-resourced baseball and/or softball league in Chicago.

WPAC representation – We request that WPPA appoint a representative to serve on the PAC and show continued support to the PAC (including but not limited to gazebo concerts, NaturePlace, and workdays) and our community engagement process.

Feedback from community engagement (to share but not critical on behalf of WPAC)

Litter and field upkeep – WPPA will increase their efforts to address litter of players and their families. CPD will commit to increased recycling and landfill receptacles and waste pick-ups after the most heavily used days, especially Saturday and Monday mornings (May-October). When allowable under procurement, CPD should add Sunday waste collection service to Welles Park.

Parking and traffic safety – We ask the WPPA to do more to promote alternatives to car trips to Welles, the Alderman explore parking and traffic pressures surrounding Welles, and the CPD, Alderman, or WPPA should install additional bike racks near each field.

The next meeting of the Welles Park Advisory Council will be held virtually (via Zoom) on Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m. Please visit the Meetings & Minutes page for the agenda and Zoom signup.

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