From where I sit, up on Cuthbert Road above the high school, Friday night lights are a beautiful thing. On homecoming evening, I came home from work and was struck by the beauty of the lighted field that I saw from my deck. The stands were filled with parents, students and neighbors, gathered together for a community event. The sporting field was filled with young people engaged in a healthy and positive activity (competitive sports). I heard cheering, music and the whistles of the referees. The sight of the game was dramatically framed by a bright orange Malibu sunset. For me, the sight of the game, lights and all, improved the view.
I have read and heard many emotional claims that the lights at the high school field will reduce neighborhood property values by as much as $40 million. I am a professional real estate investor, and I would defy anyone to provide concrete, measurable information that supports such a claim.
As the owner of a view home with a direct line of sight onto the field, I haven’t the slightest worry that the value of my property will be reduced by the lights. Property values are driven and supported (in part) by strong schools, and strong community support for those schools. I have relied upon this factor when buying homes in the past, and it is one of the most common concerns raised by potential home buyers. Strong sports programs are an integral part of a strong school. Field lighting is a simple, basic necessity of a strong school sports program. The lights will be on for a limited time, on a limited number of nights, for a worthy cause. And lets keep in mind that potential buyers do not visit homes for sale at night. They come in the day, when the sun is up, and the field lights are off. Our property values are safe.
So to those who do not favor the lights, I respectfully suggest that instead of sitting at home and calculating your imaginary real estate losses, you should go down to the game, sit in the stands, meet your neighbors, and cheer for our team. Your pay off will be new friends and a richer life. You can gaze out at a dark night sky when you get home… after the game.