NRC seeks Hunnewell lighting consensus

The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is exploring the feasibility of adding lights to the Hunnewell Track and Field, located across the street from Wellesley High School; and improving existing lighting at the multi-purpose field, tennis courts, and Reidy Field to reduce energy consumption and light pollution.

The Playing Fields Task Force (PFTF) Lighting Subcommittee presented a report to the Commission on November 21, 2019. The report was requested by the NRC last May in response to the sporting community’s interest in adding lights to the field in order to increase field availability and foster community.

The NRC heard from numerous residents regarding the report from the PFTF lighting subcommittee, continues to deliberate on the report, and is now taking the lead in creating a proposal. Any proposal will address concerns regarding intensity of use, traffic, parking and trash, as well as light trespass. The existing sound policy will be reviewed. The NRC will also explore Town funding for this project, which is not yet available.

This work will be guided by the NRC’s policy and criteria for evaluating changes to land use under its jurisdiction, and input will be sought from the surrounding neighborhoods and the community at-large, the Athletic Department, as well as other stakeholder boards in town. Any proposal to light Hunnewell Track and Field will also ensure equal access and playing time for both women’s and men’s sports. Any resulting proposal will require a public hearing and be subject to necessary permitting. Specific goals and target delivery dates have yet to be determined.

As Park and Conservation Commissioners under MGL c.45 and c.40, and Town Bylaw Sec. 43, the NRC has sole authority to set policy and promulgate regulations for all parks, playgrounds, playing fields and conservation land under its jurisdiction.

Residents with ideas, questions, and/or suggestions are welcome to reach out to the NRC at nrc@wellesleyma.gov.

NRC meeting dates and times are posted at https://wellesleyma.gov/AgendaCenter and meetings of the NRC can be viewed on www.welesleymedia.org.

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