Soccer Association to Add Practice Lighting at Complex

Lights are needed as players cannot practice indoors at Manchester's middle school

New pole lighting at the Lakehurst/Manchester Soccer Association complex is expected to be installed soon to give displaced athletes a place to practice even at dark while mold clean up at Manchester Township Middle School is completed.

April Chmiel, registrar for the soccer association, came before the township's Planning Board Monday night so members could give the proposal, which is for work on township land, a courtesy review. The lights are planned for the South Colonial Drive complex's third field by Alexander Avenue and are necessary since players cannot hold evening practices at their usual location of MTMS. 

"Because with the mold at the middle school, we no longer have indoor room to practice and our season doesn't end until November," Chmiel said. "There's just not enough light to keep holding it."

There is no official application process because it is Manchester property, according to township engineer Albert Yodakis, though the technical drawings must be submitted to the building department for review. The poles, which were donated to the soccer association by ShopRite when the grocer installed new lighting, range in height from 25 to 35 feet; township ordinance limits the height of the poles to 35 feet. 

The lights will be on no later than 8 p.m., Chmiel said. They will not be on timers and will be controlled by soccer association members who will be given access to the switch. 

"It's just for practice purposes, it's not for soccer games or anything like that," she said. 

The soccer association has gone about getting all of the necessary building permits, Chmiel said.

The board questioned whether the township would pay for electricity to power the lighting, but Yodakis said that power is the association's responsibility. The restroom and concession building at the soccer complex are paid for by the association, Yodakis said, and so, too, would the lighting.

Installation of the lights is expected to begin shortly, once the review process has been completed. 


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