Holland fields to get lights

Published 11:21 pm Saturday, November 14, 2009

If all goes well, Holland Athletic Association teams will be playing under the lights this spring.

City Council approved a transfer of extra funds from other capital projects to four different projects on Oct. 21. More than $500,000 was transferred from the Hampton Roads Technology Park and airport water and sewer lines.

The money will be used for lights at the Holland and Whaleyville athletic fields ($160,000), drainage improvements in the Boston community ($250,000), emergency access to the Hollywood community and roadway and drainage improvements in the Pierce Park neighborhood ($113,000).

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The lights on the Holland field will work wonders for the association, said Leslie Matthews Jr., president of the sports league.

“We’re very excited about that,” Matthews said. “We’ve been trying to do that for quite some time.”

Residents of the Holland community had pushed for the lights for years, not only for the athletes but also for community events, such as National Night Out and Founders Day.

“This is going to help my football program,” Matthews said. “They’ve been practicing in the dark for several years.”

The 35-year-old association serves athletes participating in football, baseball, soccer and cheerleading. Matthews said the lights also would help with promoting more sports, as well as establishing more teams to benefit young people in the city.

“There are other sports we could promote, like field hockey and soccer, but without the lights we really can’t promote them,” Matthews said. “All this is very good news for the kids in Holland. We’re real appreciative of their efforts. They’ve been practicing and playing without lights for years.”

The $250,000 for drainage improvements in the Boston community have been a long time coming, too, Pastor Emanuel Myrick said. Myrick’s church is located in the Boston community, and he is president of the Westside Civic League.

“Thank you so much for the funds that’s been allocated for the improvement of the Boston community,” Myrick told City Council members on Nov. 4. “It’s encouraging to know that this council is concerned about every community in the city of Suffolk.”

The ditch piping, concrete curbs and gutter widening will occur first on McKinley Avenue, since it is at the low point of the neighborhood and everything drains there first.

Lighting at the Whaleyville athletic field, a 1,600-foot road from N. 5th Street to Arizona Avenue for emergency access to the Hollywood community, and the second phase of improvements in Pierce Park also will be completed with the money.