Westfield residents voice concerns over athletic center

A new athletic stadium is generating controversy in Westfield

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Westfield has a new, privately owned athletic center complete with soccer fields, an indoor track and cycling studio. The entire Roots Athletic Center is still being built, but the outdoor soccer fields are up and running, which some residents are not happy about.

Their complaints center around stadium lights that were never included in the original building plan. Joe Calderella of Westfield told 22News, “What they proposed and what happened were two different things.”

The outdoor lighting had never been approved, so the city issued an order to stop using them. However, neighbors complain the nighttime soccer games are still being played, and the lights are still being used. So now, the Roots Athletic Center has submitted a new site plan for approval.

Related: New privately owned athletic center is causing controversy

Many people attended the Tuesday night planning board meeting to voice their concerns and opinions. “I’m two houses over…they’ve had lights and games going on for the past two months and the lights are shining directly into my backyard,” said Calderella.

While some residents hope changes are made to the athletic center, others feel it’s already a valuable asset to the community. “I think it’s a great place for young kids to have to go play and be involved in athletics; it gives them something to do after school,” said Connie Gumlaw of Westfield.

It could be weeks before the planning board approves or denies a new site plan.