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Harlow Park lighting provides opportunities
DIXFIELD -- For decades, Harlow Park has been a centerpiece of Dixfield and improvements have continued in making it a top-notch facility to hold sporting events. The dream of installing lights would open up greater possibilities for various other uses.
Plans were well thought out and the project organizers received a major boost when residents voted to approve using $50,000 from the Ione Harlow Fund. This was done at a special town meeting on December 9. The recreation endeavor is exactly what the Harlow Fund was earmarked for.
Scott Holmes, a member of the Harlow Park lighting steering committee, quickly stressed that no tax money would be sought. An additional $25,000 must be raised through private funding. The work will be done by volunteers and the lights would enhance the park’s appearance and accessibility. Previous upgrades have included Hanson’s storage garage, the Chow House, reinforced safety bleachers, field painting and the recently dedicated David Cox tower.
The lights will be installed on the football field so games could be scheduled on Friday nights. The popularity of games played under the lights is clearly evident at Mountain Valley because fans from throughout the River Valley flock to the venue. For those who have concerns about both teams playing on the same evening, it’s a non-issue.
When schedules are made in advance, teams from Jay and Livermore Falls are split up. So if one plays home, the other is on the road; if each has home games they play Friday and Saturday nights.
Western Foothills RSU 10 Supt. Dr. Tom Ward fully endorses the project and the district will pay the electric bill.
The lights would also allow boys' and girls' soccer games to be played; this can include field hockey. The later games would allow Athletic Director Charlie Swan more options when trying to schedule make-up games. The fan base would increase and it’s projected the lights will not be on later than 9:30 p.m.
There are concerns that there would be a higher traffic flow on Weld and Nash Streets. Dixfield Police Chief Richard Pickett doesn’t foresee a problem and any overflow of automobiles could utilize the student parking lot located behind the high school. The anti-spillover lighting is specially designed to light the field only, which will respect the abutting landowners. There will be two poles on each side of field, 26 light fixtures in total, with a 35-candle watt for the whole field.
The light towers are metal, wooden poles warp and twist; this would illuminate on the precise area.
This is also an opportunity for holding community concerts or activities that bring the community together.