(CBS) — Parents of Little League players in the Hegewisch neighborhood say they had no idea a ComEd expansion project would be so close to baseball fields.
The parents are talking about transmission poles that are a little more than 100 feet from the bleachers.
The Hegewisch Little League has played baseball on the field for 60 years.
A ComEd substation has been near the site for six decades. League parents say they’re concerned, though, that transmission polls recently went up as part of an expansion by the utility.
“You’ve always been told as a kid, never play near power lines. Now, the power lines came to us,” Hegewisch Little League President Adam Gutierrez says.
Parents say 2015 renderings of the project at a community meeting didn’t look like what is now there today.
“They never mentioned anything about no poles going up like that, no transformers in the background. Now, you look at it and it’s like, ‘Wow! They want us out. They want us out now,’” Gutierrez says.
Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s senior vice president of governmental and community relations, says there was no attempt to conceal the plans.
“We explained that these utility poles, these transmission polls, would be installed. That was made very clear at these meetings,” he says.
Parents wonder if the electrical equipment poses a potential health threat to people who spend a lot of time at the baseball field.
Marquez says: “The scientific research does not indicate any health risk.”
U of C trauma surgeon, Dr. Raphael Lee, an electrical engineer and the director of the Chicago Electrical Trauma Research Institute, agrees.
The league started a Go Fund Me page with the goal of finding a new place in the community to play ball.
“They keep getting closer and closer, on top of us,” coach Patrick Miles says.
ComEd officials say they are willing to meet with concerned parents.