There are few stories more fun than local politics, so it has been enjoyable to follow the Turf Field’s search for a home as it wanders from neighborhood to neighborhood around Williamstown. For those who missed the Record coverage here and here, iBerkshires.com provides an update.

Like a 747 seeking to land, the proposed 70-foot-tall lights to illuminate a proposed artificial turf field were diverted to Weston Field after residents of Syndicate Road turned out in force this fall to protest locating it at nearby Poker Flats.

But just as those residents objected that the lights would change the character of their neighborhood, so now do residents of Meacham Street, saying they already endure more than their fair share of games and activities at Weston.

The iBerkshire’s article has lots of interesting details, including background on similar disputes at other schools. My favorite parts involve the astronomy department’s complaints about light pollution.

Karen Kwitter, astronomy department chairwoman said. “Every time outdoor lighting is added, it has the potential to impede our observing the night sky. We would like the sky to be as dark as possible, with a minimum of artificial lights.”

“I’m not anti-development,” Kwitter said. “The campus has grown. But we’d like our concerns taken into account when lighting is being considered. It’s not just the college. It’s everybody’s night sky. Our resource is very vulnerable.”

Comments:

1) In these disputes, almost no one is ever “anti-development,” but, it just so happens, that some people are “anti-the-change-being-proposed.”

2) So far, all involved seem to be handling this dispute in a sensible manner. I was especially pleased to see the College back off of its earlier plan to locate the field at Poker Flats. Although there was talk that the turf field could be used for intramurals, it seems clear that intercollegiate sports would get first dibs and that equally important activities, like WUFO and intramural soccer, would lose at least some of their resources. Moreover, playing soccer on artificial turf is much less fun, IMHO, than doing so on grass. But perhaps that is only true for we older Ephs . . .

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