NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – When it comes to a policy that has youth sports teams paying to use lights for fields in New Hanover County, some coaches are stepping up to the plate.
The county charges $10/hour to use lights on sports fields, which comes as a shock to the coaches for Winter Park Optimist Baseball and Softball leagues.
Baseball Commissioner Michael Smith said the club owes more than $5,000 for its use of lights during the fall. It caused the registration fee to increase $15 per player, causing some parents to complain.
"People are a little upset about it," Smith said.
The $15 increase will be needed in the spring season, as well, but Smith said early estimates show the league will use more than $10,000 in lights.
Staff notified organizations about the policy in June last year. Parks and Gardens Director Tara Duckworth said they're working with groups to find ways to reduce their light use.
Smith is open to the idea, but he said weeknights are mostly the only option for players and their families.
"People work during the day, so you know at night it's a lot easier to get kids out here after 6:00 to play," he said. "We try to keep the weekends open because they're for the families."
Several organizations in New Hanover County have already paid for their light use during the fall season.