New privately owned athletic center is causing controversy

Residents say one of the main issues is that the lights in the stadium were never approved.

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new privately owned athletic center is being built in Westfield, but neighbors said plans keep changing, and they’re worried.

“We’re not opposed to the field, never have been, we looked at the original plans and we were fine with them; but since then, they have changed immensely and have gone against what was approved and that is our concern now,” said Heidi Leonard of Westfield.

The Roots Athletic Center has three indoor soccer fields, an indoor track, an indoor cycling studio and outdoor soccer fields.

Many Westfield residents have some serious concerns. “The plans today did show there was a rubber fill material; is that flammable is there a fire deterrent in it? We have many questions and we just want those answers,” said Leonard.

Leonard said one of the main issues is that the lights in the stadium were never approved. The City of Westfield issued the athletic center a cease and desist order to stop using the lights, but neighbors complained they aren’t complying.

The center’s General Manager, Ryan Labner told 22News they’re willing to work with the city because they ultimately want the kids to be able to play soccer.

The neighborhood will hold a meeting on October 30th to address these issues, and a public meeting is set for November 1st.

Here is a look at the approved plans for the Roots Athletic Center site.

Here is a Look at the Roots Compliance Review.