Following a motion by Ward 6 Councilor Richard Serino that the lights at the three St. Mary’s fields at Griswold Park not be turned on during the winter season, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hinojosa detailed the reasoning behind the winter lighting schedule.
Serino said a resident expressed concern to him that “we are wasting electricity” by having the lights on at night from Nov. 30 to March 1.
But Serino added that he understood that having the lights on “could be a public safety issue,” inferring that the lights act as a deterrent to potential vandalism at the site and provide light for residents who like to walk nightly in the paths that surround the fields.
Serino requested to amend his motion to dim some of the lights or have fewer of the light poles in operation.
Hinojosa said that since November, 2016, at the request of former Ward 6 Councilor Charlie Patch, the lights at the park have been kept on during the non-baseball/softball seasons.
“We currently keep the lights on until 8 o’clock every night,” said Hinojosa. “We do not put on the lights at all three fields. I rotate the fields one at a time. It’s not lit up like it normally is, but it still provides that public safety for people that would like to walk there. I think 8 o’clock is a reasonable time for us to have.”
Hinojosa said the cost to operate the lights for four hours is $19.20. “It’s about 40 cents a hour per fixture and we run 12 fixtures.”
Serino thanked Hinojosa for his thorough explanation of the matter. The councillor requested that his motion be placed on file. “I think the public safety factor does outweigh the costs,” concluded Serino