Opinion: Light Up the Courts!

Connor McOwen, Student Writer

With springtime rapidly approaching, warm weather, long nights, and basketball at Hilltown Civic Park are about to become reality. In the Pennridge area, these courts are a great way to spend the afternoon or evening with friends. Almost everything is perfect here, except for the fact that the lights don’t turn on until much later in the summer. 

Although one would assume that the longer nights would entail more hours for the park to be lit, this isn’t the case at all. Last year, the lights didn’t turn on until midway through June, long after school ended. Sadly, this put a halt to hours of fun with friends. Frequent player, Chris McKinney,  commented on the issue. “My friends and I were playing basketball when the sun was setting and we all had to go home because it got too dark to play.” For some reason, Hilltown Township seems to feel that giving kids a safe, healthy way to stay occupied once school is out isn’t important. We propose that Hilltown Township provide adequate lighting for the basketball courts earlier in the year, allowing ample time to use the courts.

One possible drawback would be the additional cost to the township. Township supervisors should note that there are several options. Parks could be lit using a passive solar collection, which would involve a single, upfront cost less than five thousand dollars, an amount that would be negligible to most townships. Another option the township might find more palatable would be simply paying for the energy to light the courts as needed.  PPL currently charges approximately seven cents per kilowatt-hour. As you can see, either option would provide hours of valuable court time with negligible impact to the township budget. 

With the mild winter temperature this year, even more valuable court time has been lost. This past week, the courts were packed, despite the fact that it is only February. This adds extra time for children in the community to engage in something that would benefit their health in all aspects. The most obvious benefit of the park is exercise. Less than one-quarter of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Exercise is an essential part of one’s overall health. The courts can help to instill teamwork, cooperation, and hard work into the children who play on it, all of which can positively affect one’s social health. Bobby Brashear, another frequent player said, “turning on the lights would let you play with your friends for longer.” The more hours these children have to play at the park, the more their overall health can flourish.

Overall, turning on the lights earlier in the year at the Hilltown Civic Park will benefit the lives of local children in a number of ways. Hilltown Civic Park is an outlet for many children to blow off steam and to have fun. The precious hours they have to play should not be limited due to insufficient lighting.