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updated: 8/17/2011 6:41 PM

Mt. Prospect weighs Melas Park lights

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Melas Park neighbors made it clear to Mount Prospect village trustees Tuesday night they oppose plans to install 70-foot-tall lights on practice fields and a proposed driving range on the property.

The village board discussed the matter Tuesday ahead of a possible vote on the proposal Sept. 6.

The Mount Prospect Park District is asking for a zoning variation that would allow installation of the lighting.

Mount Prospect Community Development Director Bill Cooney said the lights would shine directly down on the fields and would not spill over into the surrounding neighborhood.

Park district officials say games would end at 9 p.m., when only a portion of the lights would remain on for a 30 minutes to allow residents to find their cars and leave.

But neighbors say they would still see the lights in the distance from their homes. One of the most vocal of opponents was Nancy Weinand, one of a group of Kenilworth Avenue residents to appear before trustees Tuesday.

"It's going to be an invasion of my privacy," she said.

One of the neighbors hired an attorney, Dan Dowd, who said the park district's petition should be sent back to the planing, building and zoning commission because the commission did not establish its impact on property values.

Park District CEO Walter Cook said the children who take part in football and soccer programs need a place to play, and not having lights prevents them from receiving opportunities available in other communities. Cook said the village is woefully deficient in available acreage for its residents.

Meals Park, he added, is much more than a community park.

"It is pushing toward a regional park," he said.

Not everyone who spoke was in opposition. Bruce Jarosz, president of the Mount Prospect Football Association, said the proposal would benefit children without impacting the residents.