Neighbors oppose changes to Edgewood High School stadium

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Edgewood High School's varsity football team has not been able to play a home game on their field. While the field is used for practices and other sports games, the football team usually plays "home" games at Middleton High School.

"There's liability issues there's scheduling issues, there's issues with transportation," Edgewood High School President Michael Elliott said about the difficulties playing at Middleton.

In November, the school submitted a proposal to add more seating, lighting and a sound system to the field, so they could hold home games on the field at night.

"We really felt that this was something that we wanted to do for our students to enhance the experience for them while they’re here," Elliott said.

However, people who live near the field are worried the added lights and sound will be disruptive. The Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association Council voted to oppose the proposal. Several neighbors posted signs in their yard that say "No New Stadium."

"A chainsaw at 50 feet, that's 85 [decibels], so that's the kind of sound levels that we're talking about that people are going to experience at their homes on Woodrow St., on Monroe St.," said Ethan Brodsky, who lives on Woodrow St. "You’re going to have noise levels that have been found to interrupt conversations, disrupt sleep, to cause annoyance, stress, distraction."

Brodsky's primary concern is sound. He said other neighbors are concerned about bright lights and more traffic. Brodsky feels Edgewood has not done enough to address these concerns.

"It really feels like they're just talking at the neighborhoods and trying to get, put on the appearances of going through a process," he said. "They’ve really done nothing to address the major concerns of the neighborhood which are the lights and the sound and just he unavoidable impact that a football stadium has on people who live very close to it."

Elliott said the school has worked to find solutions to these issues.

"For traffic and for parking, for utilization, for noise and for lights, we had solutions that we presented," Elliott said.

Elliott said the new sound system will be directional to reduce noise in the neighborhood. He also said the LED lighting will not have a bad glare problem or a glow that will affect the neighborhood.

The school has also met with the Arboretum and the zoo to make sure the changes will not affect the wildlife and zoo animals.

Elliot wants to continue conversations with the neighborhood to find a compromise.

"I hope we can get together as groups and talk about what are the most important issues and concerns that the neighbors have and then what are the greatest needs that we have, and try to come up with something that works with both of us so that at some point in time, we can all feel that this is an asset to the neighborhood," he said.

The Madison Plan Commission will take up the proposal on Jan. 14. The commission is accepting public comment. For the school to move forward with the proposal, the Plan Commission and the Common Council have to approve it.