Mr. McCabe penned a letter in last week’s Leader in which he expressed support for the town’s Edison Sport Complex project and characterized the objections of local residents to the project as “minor inconveniences.”
Allow me to detail some of those inconveniences. First, a little specificity as to the project, which specifics Mr. McCabe deemed unnecessary to describe. Almost the entire area behind Edison Intermediate School will be transformed from a natural grass area with two baseball fields to a plastic grass covered area the size of 7 football fields surrounded by 14 stadium lights. Only 250,000 of the 400,000 square feet of the plastic grass will be usable for playing fields, however. The remainder will be necessary merely to complete the design of the Complex. The Complex will literally be a stone’s throw from about a dozen and a half properties on three sides of the Complex.
Mr. McCabe, will the sky glow from the 14 stadium lights and whistles, yelling, clapping and possible P.A. system night time noise be a minor inconvenience to the present resident families with children with autism who are highly sensitive to stimuli and whose homes border the Complex? How about other families with very young children whose homes border the Complex? Will it be a minor inconvenience for residents of the area to have to walk in the many streets without sidewalks at night during times when vehicles are arriving at and leaving the Complex because there’s nowhere in the area to add significant lot parking?
Will it be a minor inconvenience when the entire residential area along Robinson’s creek bordering one side of the Complex, which is already a flood zone in places, gets flooded because the fields won’t be able to absorb all the water at times of exceptionally heavy or extended rainfalls? Will it be a minor inconvenience to the senior gentleman on whose property there’s a bridge over the creek when noisy groups of athletes are traipsing through his property at night to get from their cars on the street in front of his house to the Complex and then back to their cars later on? Will it be a minor inconvenience to the property owners bordering the Complex that, following the realtor’s mantra “Location, location, location”, their property values will become significantly diminished?
And, of course, these minor inconveniences must be considered in tandem with the ridiculously expensive $18.2 million cost of the Sports Complex, health and safety hazards of such a huge area of plastic grass, inconvenience to Edison students who at times, unlike their counterparts at Roosevelt Intermediate School, will be deprived of recess time, and other issues presented at the meeting you attended but which issues you ignore.
And the biggest question of all that I have for you is why create all these problems when there’s a much better solution to the problem of a shortage of playing fields for the youth of Westfield? That would be to improve the existing ill maintained fields and construct new fields in available areas around town such that plastic grass and stadium lights are unnecessary and no one neighborhood, especially the one that is already subject to the parking, traffic congestion and noise problems from Kehler Stadium across the street from Edison, is forced to bear the burden for the entire town.