Arlington residents petition for, against field lights

Surging growth for an Arlington school is prompting concerns among its neighbors, but the biggest worry is focused on one small part of that growth centered around youth sports.

The problem is not necessarily the elementary school to be built on the campus of Williamsburg Middle School or the doubling of the school-aged population, but it’s the lights.

“All of a sudden I’m going to have stadium lighting in my bedroom,” says Donna Heivilin.

Heivilin signed a petition against lighting the middle field, which is basically Judy Hadden’s back yard.

Hadden is one of 136 Rock Spring neighbors who signed the petition asking Arlington County to keep the so-called dark sky lights found at Long Bridge Park completely dark.

The Arlington Soccer Association’s competing pro-light petition has nearly 10 times the number of signers.

"Lacrosse for kids, football for kids, frisbee for kids. Those are all growing as well at really incredible rates and all those groups need rectangular fields," Justin Wilt of the Arlington Soccer Association.

The ASA recommends a light curfew of 9:30 p.m. and reserving the fields for youth sports only, but the county would have to enforce that.

“I don’t think we have any guarantee," says Hadden.

“We feel they’ve made a decision and slammed it down our throats,” says Heivilin.

But this match isn’t over yet. Just down the street, the neighborhood around Bishop O’Connell High School fought lights and won.