Lights at Crystal Lake’s Lippold Park will have shields installed after residents’ complaints

Residents claim lights are not compliant with city’s ordinance

A view from Bob and Dianne Miller's backyard on July 17 when Lippold Park golf driving range lights are on.

After LED lights were installed at the golf driving range and the soccer fields at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake, neighboring residents said they are experiencing light pollution that reached their backyards and into their homes.

Now, months later, the Crystal Lake Park District will be installing shields on some of the Lippold Park lights this fall, Crystal Lake Park District Jason Herbster said.

Crystal Lake residents Bob and Dianne Miller live on Thornewood Lane, and their backyard borders Lippold Park. They said the lights have significantly affected their time enjoying time their backyard under the night sky.

“It was like our backyard was lit up like daytime,” Bob Miller said.

Crystal Lake Park District commissioners Thursday voted in favor of installing shields on lights at the Golf Learning Center driving range and some lights on the soccer field.

The park district expects to receive the shields within four to six weeks, Herbster said. The lights also will be angled to further reduce light pollution. The park district plans to buy 105 Jarvis Lighting shields from Project Green Environmental Solutions for $17,015, according to park district documents.

“This hasn’t fallen on deaf ears,” Herbster said. “It’s just a process that takes time.”

Crystal Lake’s Unified Development Ordinance requires exterior lighting to reduce the distribution of stray light on neighboring properties and to preserve the night sky.

It is “unclear” if the lights at Lippold Park are in compliance with the ordinance, Crystal Lake Director of Community Development Kathryn Cowlin said.

The shields are intended to “reduce glare, control and direct light, prevent light pollution and protect the fixture from external damage,” according to a Jarvis Lighting document sent to the Crystal Lake Park District.

Lights at Lippold Park were replaced with LED lights over the course of this year, Herbster said.

Different lights were installed on the golf driving range and the soccer fields versus the baseball and football fields at the park because of a grant that the park district received, Herbster said.

Bob Miller said that he and his wife Dianne appeared at multiple public meetings to share how the lights affected them and communicated with Herbster over email for many months.

“We would like to be able to entertain and enjoy the evenings in our backyard without having to wear sunglasses in the dark,” Bob Miller wrote to Herbster.

This isn’t the first time Bob Miller pushed for changes at Lippold Park. Last year, he collected more than 100 signatures in a petition to improve the park’s trails.

Miller said that he plans on doing his own audit on park lighting in Crystal Lake to see if any other lights are not compliant with the city’s ordinance.

“No one in Crystal Lake should have to live like this,” Bob Miller said.

Have a Question about this article?