The Arlington Heights Park District will be allowed to put up 20-foot high netting along Kirchoff Road as part of its project to install synthetic turf at Sunset Meadows soccer and football fields, the village board decided on Monday night.
The approval of the netting, which is meant as a safety constraint to keep balls from going into the road and causing crashes, came after a few residents expressed concerns about the look of the netting from nearby homes.
“Safety is a concern, but aesthetics are important as well,” said resident Paul Anderson. “This is what neighbors are going to see, and anyone who visits will also see this netting.”
The park district plans to install 18 large trees along the south side of Kirchoff Road and nine parkway trees on the north side of the street, said Alann Petersen, director of parks and planning.
The trees would obscure the large poles holding up the netting, Petersen said, but their installation is contingent upon receiving approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The $2 million turf project at Sunset Meadows will be completed later this summer for use in the fall football season, officials said.
“But you’re going to have a lag,” said Trustee John Scaletta. “You’re going to have nets up before you’re going to have trees.”
Village officials said it would be rare for IDOT to reject the tree plantings, but trustees said they wished the park district had timed the project better to allow trees to be installed at the same time as the netting to appease neighboring residents.
Trustee Bert Rosenberg said he had to vote against the netting because of this issue.
Some residents asked if the netting could be raised and lowered at certain times, but park district officials said that would not be cost-effective over several years because it would cause the netting to wear more quickly.
Petersen said Nickol Knoll and Arlington Lakes golf courses both have safety netting that is higher than 20 feet and adjacent to residential areas.
“We will continue to strive to be a good neighbor,” he said.
Trustee Mike Sidor said that between the electric poles, fencing and lights near the fields at Sunset Meadows, the added netting and trees may help.
“If this is done properly, it may actually look better than what we see there now,” Sidor said.
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