Fundraising efforts aim to bring light to Lisbon High field

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LISBON — The Lisbon Athletics Boosters wants to see teams spend Friday nights under the lights.

In June, Enterprise Electric donated lights to Lisbon High School that would allow the school to host night games.

Now, the athletic boosters are trying to raise $90,000 they say is needed to install the light.

Lisbon Athletics Boosters hopes the prospect of the Lisbon Greyhounds playing at night will convince locals to pitch in.

Depending on the opponent and importance of the match-up, football games can draw anywhere from 500 to 800 fans. Money from the minimum of four home football games goes to the athletic gate fund, which helps pay game officials.

The lights would push back the start times of games and track meets, and football coach Chris Kates said that could drive up attendance because evenings are typically more convenient for families. Games could be pushed back until after the commute until 7 p.m., the typical start time for Friday night games.

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“It would give us the opportunity to host more events,” Kates said. “We already have multiple track meets per year. There’s also a lot of youth programming through youth football.”

The school currently hosts football games on Saturday afternoons. Lights may allow Lisbon to host games more frequently.

That could also impact traffic on Route 196, the main artery into Lewiston. The Maine Department of Transportation’s most recent study of traffic on Route 196 shows the stretch of road by the high school saw 14,530 cars daily in 2017.

“In regard to the planning, we have been trying to gather cost estimates for the installation,” said Superintendent Richard Green, who noted the goal is for the installation phases to be completed without any public funding.

“We’re trying to do this all privately funded. But to get the project started, we don’t necessarily need to raise all of the funds.”

As the project comes closer to reality, Green said the school board would consider issues that might arise from the added light and noise. The town noise ordinance allows for up to 75 decibels until 9 p.m. on a Friday, but other permitting can be given to athletic events.

Code Enforcement Officer Dennis Douglass said the nearest home appears to be more than 150 feet from the edge of the track, although he has not taken a measurement. That area is mostly wooded, buffering the house from the field.

Kates said lights will not be installed in time for this football season.

“I would love to see it done for the following season,” Kates said. “That would be my best-case scenario, I think.”

A fundraising campaign is underway to add lights to the Lisbon High School football field. (K. Aspen Mikella Photo)

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