Centennial Field in West New York at Port Imperial, located on River Road just below 60th Street, currently has no lighting, forcing the players to end practice early.
"We have lights in Miller Stadium, we have lights on the Little League field, now we needed lights for the soccer field," said West New York Mayor Albio Sires.
Commissioner Sal Vega, who is also the athletic director for Memorial High School, expects the project, which also includes an electronic scoreboard, to be completed by the end of this soccer season in mid-November.
Vega hopes to use the new lighting for next season.
Sires said that work will begin as soon as possible.
The new lights will give both the recreation and high school teams the flexibility to play into the evening hours. According to Vega, the high school team usually begins practice at 4 p.m. However, by October, it starts to become dark around 5:30 p.m., not leaving the team much time to practice.
This year, due to the success of the town's recreation soccer program, Memorial High School will also be introducing their first girls' soccer team, meaning that both teams will have to have practice time before it gets dark.
With the lights, the school will be able to hold practice for both teams and not have to worry about fitting in practice before sundown.
"The new lights will give the teams the ability to practice into the late evening," said Vega.
Vega said that the new lighting will also allow the school to schedule game times without having to make the players leave school early.
According to Vega, the high school usually starts their games at 4 p.m. However, by the end of the season, the games have to be held earlier.
"This means getting the kids out of school earlier," said Vega. "Sometimes as early as noon."
While the high school teams may not be able to take advantage of the new lighting until next season, the town's recreation league will only have to wait a few months.
The recreation department now has five boys' traveling teams that play throughout New Jersey, for boys ages 8 through 18. They also have in-house recreation programs for both boys and girls ages 5 through 18 with more than 400 kids participating. These programs run all year, not just during the fall months.
"These lights will do a great deal for our soccer program," said Sires.
Now the recreation program practices twice a week at Memorial Field behind Memorial High School, which is lighted. Hopefully with the addition of the lighting in Centennial Field, the program can move down to the soccer field for practice.
However, lights or no lights, the West New York Recreation Soccer Program is always top notch.
"The soccer program is one of the most successful programs we have in West New York," said Sires. "We wanted to make sure that we have a soccer field, now we want to make sure it has lights."
Much of the program's success is due to the quality coaching staff that the recreation league has. Many of the coaches in the recreation leagues have played soccer their whole lives in their countries.
Gus Ochoa, the volunteer director of the soccer program, was a semi-professional player in Ecuador and Jorge Rosero, one of the team coaches, also played professional soccer for Ecuador.
Centennial Field was built by Roseland Property Inc., the development company based out of Short Hills that is a main developer of the West New York waterfront.
This facility was part of an agreement made between Roseland and the town to build a recreational facility for the town's soccer program.
Also as part of Roseland's agreement with the town, Roseland has to fund a series of community development projects throughout West New York.
Besides the soccer field, Roseland also built the $650,000 fountain on the corner of 60th Street and Boulevard East in Donnelly Park, and they made the renovations to the town's Little League Field on Broadway. As part of those renovations, Roseland replaced the fencing, added new lighting, and built a new club house.
Roseland also agreed to donate $4,000 to the town's affordable housing trust fund for each unit built on the waterfront at market value. $1.2 million of that money was used to help fund the three-site affordable housing project currently underway in West New York.