Rugby fields in Sunset Hills won’t bring problems, resident suggests

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I am responding to the Aug. 8 letter from Mr. John Stephens, where he expresses concerns over the use of Bander Park for rugby fields. My response is intended to clarify or correct his misgivings.

Mr. Stephens describes the “recreational fields” as a “privately owned complex” and says there will be allowed “unrestricted operation.” That’s simply not true. The city of Sunset Hills owns the premises, and has considerable oversight pursuant to the lease agreement.

Indeed, the lease requires that “recreational sports activities and ancillary uses, such as food and beverage service and special events, [be] in compliance with all city ordinances and applicable guidelines.”

Throughout the lease there are other obligations on the part of St. Louis Bomber RFC to comply with city, county and state rules, regulations and ordinances under varying circumstances.

Mr. Stephens complains about traffic, noise, light pollution and the like. First, the amount of acreage subject to the lease is approximately 15 acres and not the 20 acres he says. This acreage represents about 12 percent of the park’s total acreage. Mr. Stephens’ concerns should be reserved until he hears how the remaining 88 percent of the land is being used.

Only when the full use of the 122 acres is known can any impact of the land’s use be assessed. Nonetheless, it is surely the case the rugby fields will not exceed traffic, noise and light pollution that existed under the prior usage.

My family and I, along with many residents of Sunset Hills, are unabashedly in favor of recreational facilities that promote the health of our citizens, and allow for alternative activities for area youth. I much prefer rugby fields that will encourage an active lifestyle for our citizens and will welcome individuals of all fitness levels should they want to give it a try or come watch matches. Rugby is a time honored sport respected for its commitment to its members and their community.

The Bombers encourage the interest of our emerging athletes — encouraging personal growth, resiliency and increased self esteem — young men and women alike through mentorship and coaching.

Our own Lindbergh High School team has now added a rugby championship trophy to its mantle.

Rather than unnecessary roadblocks, we should be embracing this unique opportunity. Please take all 8,000-plus residents — especially the youth, our No. 1 priority — of this incredible community into consideration.

Erin Kelley
Sunset Hills

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