Voicing numerous concerns, Madison's Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association Council has decided to strongly oppose Edgewood High School’s effort to build a stadium on its west-side campus.
Edgewood wants to add seats, lighting and a sound system to its athletic field at the corner of Monroe and Woodrow streets that will allow it to host sporting events at night. Some neighbors of the Catholic school have concerns about traffic, parking, light and noise.
A DMNA survey last April found that most respondents in the neighborhood opposed the project, but DMNA did not post an official stance until Thursday, Nov. 15.
A letter explaining DMNA’s “adamant opposition,” said that while the neighborhood association has supported 16 previous development projects on the campus for a primary school, high school and college, in this case the negative impacts on neighborhood quality of life are too great.
“Unlike usual city development that creates infill, prevents urban sprawl and increases the city tax base, this amendment benefits a private institution with nearly half its student population outside the Madison city limits, without adding significant benefit to the city as a whole,” the letter said.
On its website, Edgewood High School officials say they have wanted to host varsity home games “for decades.” Without a home field, Edgewood rents space from other area school districts for football and soccer games and has to deal with “continuous scheduling issues."
The high school property touches the Dudgeon-Monroe and Vilas Neighborhoods. Samip Kothari, president of the Vilas Neighborhood Association, said the association has not yet taken an official stance on the issue and is reviewing Edgewood's proposal.
If approved, the project would create a 1,200-seat stadium with press box, changing rooms, restrooms and concession area at the field, which is used mostly for practice or daytime games without a public address system. The new stadium would allow the school to host between 26 and 40 evening games a year, with lighting needed for 18 to 27 of those games.
According to Edgewood, some stadium features that could help alleviate neighborhood concerns include an LED lighting that would minimize “glare, light spill and sky glow” and a sound system that would direct noise into the stadium.
Edgewood must amend its master plan to go through with the project. The DMNA letter of opposition notes that the neighborhood was happy with the results of the 2014 Campus Master Plan, which described using the field for team practices and gym class.
“It is highly unlikely that DMNA would have supported the Master Plan had it included lights or amplified sound on the athletic field,” the letter says.
Edgewood has said it plans to present its amendment to the master plan to the Plan Commission and City Council in January, which would allow construction to start in the summer of 2019, so as to be ready for fall sports.