Edgewood can now host games on athletic field, after Madison Common Council vote

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Edgewood High School can now host games on its athletic field after a year-long fight with neighbors and the city of Madison.

On Tuesday, the Madison Common Council voted 15-5 in favor of repealing the school’s Master Plan. That plan limited the school to using the field for practices and classes, and not games.

""I'm excited, I'm really excited for the athletic students," said Susan Usrey, whose daughter goes to Edgewood, adding, "Now that they can play here, oh definitely, we will come [to the games]."

Besides hosting games, Edgewood High School has also wanted to upgrade the field, including more seating and lights for night games.

Over the past year, neighbors expressed concern over increased noise and other disturbances to the area if the school started hosting games and went through with those upgrades. The Common Council also initially resisted discarding the plan.

Last spring, the City of Madison voted to characterize all games on Edgewood's athletic field as being illegal.

In past seasons, Edgewood has had to hold football games at other venues including Middleton High School and Breese Stevens Field. Usrey said that discouraged her family from attending games.

"It was ludicrous to think about having to drive to Middleton or drive someplace else," Usrey explained.

Tensions over the field reached its peak last November, when Edgewood High School sued the City of Madison in federal court, alleging religious discrimination. According to the suit, the city was not treating the school fairly compared to other schools.

Even with the Master Plan repealed, Edgewood will still need to get approval from the city to install lights for night games.

Some neighbors said they are disappointed by the Common Council's decision. Brad Boyce, who lives right by the school, said he worries having games on the field would be noisy and disruptive.

"It's right on top of our neighborhood, and it's just not compatible," Boyce said.

Boyce said he is also worried about losing parts of the Master Plan unrelated to the field, including agreements about protecting Lake Wingra and a liaison committee between nearby neighborhoods and Edgewood schools.

"I'm hoping that [the committee] will continue, and Edgewood has indicated that they would like to have a good discussion with the neighborhood, but it's too early to tell," he said.

School officials said in a statement on Wednesday that Edgewood "remains committed to being the good neighbor it has been for the past 130 years."

According to Edgewood High School President Michael Elliott in a statement:

"From the beginning we followed the process that the city asked us to follow, even when that process changed. In the Dominican tradition of study, reflect, act, we studied every concern and provided honest information and solutions that met or exceeded city standards and requirements."