The Madison Plan Commission early Tuesday voted unanimously to deny Edgewood High School stadium lights for its athletic field.
The vote, shortly before 1 a.m., came after a lengthy online public hearing at which neighbors spoke against the proposal.
Lights are just one piece of a controversial renovation project that has divided the neighborhood since the high school proposed the $1.5 million in improvements to the athletic field in 2017.
Rachel Fields, president of the Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association, expressed the neighborhood's opposition to the installation of lights on the high school's on-campus athletic field.
"We can only reiterate that adding lights to Edgewood's field would damage the livability of the homes near the field," she said. "We are also concerned with the precedent that it sets."
Fields referenced the federal lawsuit against the city recently dropped by the high school and the potential for another lawsuit to surface if the issue festers
"We hope other entities don't realize that a lawsuit is an easier way of getting what they want rather than a real discussion and a democratic vote," she said.
Ald. Tag Evers, who represents District 13 on the City Council encompassing the high school, said he feels there is "wisdom in waiting" and the decision should not be rushed during a pandemic.
Michael Elliott, the high school's president, said he asked members of the Edgewood community not to register to speak at the meeting to be mindful of time and allow a few key players to speak instead. Elliot said during this three-year process, Edgewood has "remained true to its promise" to follow the city's recommendations and keep the concerns of neighbors in mind.
"We need lights to compete with other schools and to survive as an institution," Elliot said. "We need lights to enhance the athletic experience for student athletes at the youth, high school and college levels."
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said she hopes the high school will make another effort towards plans for the athletic field improvement with more input from the community.
"I think people want to have a good relationship, so please keep working at it," she said.
The commission also decided to delay decisions on the start of the proposed $300 million Madison Yards redevelopment until its first meeting in June.
Also Monday, the commission unanimously approved some big projects:
- The Bayview Foundation/Horizon Development's mixed-use project, which would bring over 100 housing units, community center and more.
- Developments on the 1000 block of South Park Street, including a building with over 24 housing units.
- A development at 5567 Odana Road for multi-family housing.
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