Edgewood High School to file lawsuit with Madison over football field lights

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:01 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Edgewood High School is filing a federal lawsuit against the City of Madison, alleging that the City has unfairly treated the school over the years in its efforts to install lights on its football field.

According to a news release issued Friday, Edgewood High School presented their final appeal to the Madison Common Council on Jan. 19. This appeal was rejected with 13 of 17 council members opposing the lights.

The school now argues that it needs to preserve its legal rights, saying earlier actions during the lights process have given them deadlines and timing requirements that do not allow delays.

Edgewood also alleges that “testimony and statements at the January Common Council meeting demonstrate an objective of no lights at all.”

“Unfortunately, the odds of getting to a compromise seem to be all talk with no sincere willingness to allow Edgewood to ever install lights,” Elliott said. He also added that this legal battle is necessary for them to move forward as a community.

“Full use of our field – day and night—is vital to the Edgewood experience for our current and future students and to further live out our mission to educate the whole student,” Elliott said.

The school has pursued a lawsuit with the City of Madison in the past, alleging “religious discrimination,” in August of 2019. The lawsuit accused the City of not permitting Edgewood to expand their football stadium in the same way other institutions have done. Edgewood dropped that lawsuit in February of 2020 in an attempt to come to an agreement with the City over the field.

Edgewood also hit a roadblock with its field in May of 2020, when the City of Madison Plan Commission voted unanimously against the school’s application to install LED lights. Members of the Plan Commission said night games would be too disruptive to the surrounding neighborhood.

NBC15 reached out to the Madison Common Council and Madison Mayor’s Office for comment.

“Edgewood has now sued the City twice in less than two years for religious discrimination on this issue. The City will vigorously defend this lawsuit just like it vigorously defended Edgewood’s first lawsuit, which was ultimately dismissed. We are well prepared to defend the Plan Commission and Common Council’s decisions, which were based on permit standards, not religious discrimination,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.

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