The days are getting shorter, so some residents in Coachella like Joaquin Solis are asking the city for more light on community parks, so they can enjoy a little evening athletic activity.
Solis recently asked KMIR to investigate the issue saying, "it seems everywhere in the valley there is no place to play soccer. A group of my friends and I try to play after 7pm so it can cool down but the lights never stay on they always turn off."
It happens mostly at Rancho Las Flores Park in Coachella but Solis says he’s visited other parks in La Quinta and Indio and experiences the same issue.
"Sometimes we just try to play with the lighting that we have but it’s not enough," he said.
KMIR got a glimpse at what Solis and his friends experience nightly, not only at this field but others across the valley. Now that the sun is setting earlier, they’re asking why lighting isn’t extended longer into the evening.
City’s like La Quinta have strict protocol, allowing teams that reserve space on fields to have top priority, followed by residents and then lastly non-residents. Like many cities, La Quinta says running lighting at one of their parks costs them about 100 dollars an hour. After 10pm, the park’s in the area are shut down but before then, lighting can be turned off if there aren’t fields reserved for play according to La Quinta Parks.
"We’re not asking them to stay on late, just around nine or ten, that’s all we ask for," said Solis.
He and his friends all work full-time jobs. They’re off late and wake up early, so they want those few hours of leisure time to spend, doing something productive but without lighting, it could turn dangerous.
"Some of us could even get hurt out there, so we just decide to not even play period. It’s kind of a bummer because we can’t play and we really like to play," said Solis.
Many residents say safety is a major concern. They want to see who’s walking around this park while they’re playing and even when they’re walking to their cars. They ask city leaders if they could maybe think about changing protocol when it comes lighting, to make it safer for everyone involved.