By Frances Ruth HarrisMILFORD — Mayor Bo Fean listened to Milford Borough residents complain about unsafe and disruptive conditions at the ballpark, especially with the Little League season now underway.
Fean acknowledged the amplified music that disturbs some residents, but said kids need a place to play and stay out of trouble.
“Give me a break!” said Fean. He said he's thrown out the first ball on Little League opening day for the past 15 years.
Still, residents on East Catharine Street say the crowds and the noise are at unprecedented levels.
Resident George Borecky said driving conditions are unsafe around the park. Several hundred ball players are dropped off to play within the space of an hour, he said, depriving drivers of visibility and lane space. He said many of the cars have New Jersey license plates.
Resident Dan MacCloud said noise at the park is over the top. Spectators are encouraged to stomp on the bleachers while excessively loud and irritating music plays, he said.
MacCloud said he really likes the Little League and does not mean to criticize the players. But, he said, “the amplification system is out of hand.”
Resident Lou Theodore said the crowds and amped-up noise don't belong in a quiet residential neighborhood. Historically, he said, the park was never used by so many people, and music was never played so loudly. It's impossible to take a nap or rest under these conditions, he said, and often difficult for him to get in and out of his driveway.
Resident Frank Tarquinio said he saw three drivers in the same lane trying to navigate their cars without any sense of direction, and suggested adding a stop sign.
Theodore said some players were batting outside the batting cage. Councilman Vinnie Accordino said he's looking into moving the cages to the skate park, which would prevent so many balls from ending up in residential yards.
Theodore also said he thought signs on the ball park fence were prohibited. Borough Secretary Liz Samuelson said that was true once, but the decision has since been reversed.
Fean said residents need to recognize that the borough includes all ages. He disagreed that parking was a problem, and that the police issue tickets only rarely, when absolutely necessary.
“It’s a park," said Fean. "It was a park before anyone moved there.”
If residents decide to live near a park, he said, they benefit from the quality of life that a park brings.
Borough Council President James Price was more accommodating. He said the borough has a noise ordinance, and that he would address the residents' complaints right away by following up with the Little League.