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Group Opposing Memorial Lights Seeks Referendum

The group Our Field Our Town wants the issue of installing lights at Glenbard West High School's Memorial Field put to a referendum.

A group of residents opposing the installation of lights at Memorial Field want all residents to vote yes or no on the issue.

Our Field Our Town wants to put the issue on the March ballot, so all residents would have a say on this contentious issue of erecting lights at  Memorial Field on Crescent Boulevard.  

In order to get the issue on the ballot in March, the group needs approximately 622 signatures, which is the required eight percent of the 7,772 voters from the last gubernatorial election.

Despite the outcome of the vote, the group feels the decision should ultimately be left up to residents; the referendum would be non-binding so despite the outcome the village board of trustees could decide to go against the majority decision.

To move forward with installing the lights, Glenbard High School District 87 requested a variance for the project from the village. The issue is now scheduled to go before the village plan commission on Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. After reviewing the request, the commissioners will form a recommendation and then turn the final decision over to village trustees.

Our Field Our Town wants to slow that process. The group wants trustees to hold off on a final vote until the outcome of a referendum.

But Village Attorney Stuart Diamond pointed out that trustees could still move forward even if a referendum was scheduled. Jim Ozog, OFOT member and attorney, contends that there is no village ordinance or state statute that imposes a time deadline on the trustees to vote on the findings and recommendations of the plan commission.

The request for the installation of lights comes after the completion of phase one construction at Memorial Field: finished in the summer of 2010, the installation of a synthetic turf allows for increased usage. Among the many enhancements, part of that $1.4 million project included installing an underground conduit for future lights. District 87 officials cite the need for a field that can operate longer due to the limited field space at the Glenbard West campus. The $300,000 project to install lights will be funded by donations, not taxpayers.

The OFOT group will hold a press conference on Aug. 17 to release more information on the potential referendum. 

Editor's note: The article originally stated the referendum would be on the April ballot, that is incorrect. If the group gets enough signatures the referendum would be included on the ballot in March.  

Rich Magurkey August 09, 2011 at 06:25 PM
What do these people have against GW finally getting sports facilities that put it on equal footing with other schools? The quality of GW practice facilities is sub-standard and our students deserve better, especially if the taxpayers won't have to fund it.
Ramona August 09, 2011 at 07:00 PM
It is silly that we are the last school in the area without lights. This group is against it due to noise?? More noise then the trains mke every 5 minutes?? Ambiance?? Again, grafitti filled freight cars are a much better sight than kids playing!
Chuck August 10, 2011 at 11:33 AM
I'm really not understanding why these lights are not going to be installed at the football field.
Samantha Liss August 10, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Hi Chuck, Due to limited space for practices at GBW, District 87 feels installing lights will allow more time to practice at Memorial Field.
John Salemi August 10, 2011 at 12:56 PM
John Salemi For those who think this is about depriving students the opportunity to play sports and become the best possible athelete they can be, it is far from the truth. No one from OFOT wants to deprive a student of sports. Please take the time to go to the web site www.ourfieldourtown.com and educate yourself as to the real reasons why there is a protest against installing lights, subjecting pedestrians to unsafe conditions, burdening the taxpayers with maintenance and the possibility of cost overruns when installing footings in an area that is designated and full of utilities (easement where 2 light poles are to be installed), changing the ambiance of one of our gateways into our village into a sportsplex environment, etc. Give it a read!
J August 10, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Rich,"especially if the taxpayers won't have to fund it?" Like when District 87 Business Mgr. Chris McClain told me that GG was paying $700,000 for the turf field. How'd that end up? The district has been disingenuous when it comes to paying for any of these field related things. We, the taxpayers, will be left holding the bag for field replacement not so far down the road. Let a referendum decide. At least that can't be stolen at 2 AM. Speaking of that, the GE Police Dept. do anything yet about any of those thefts?
Cathy Goodman August 12, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Hmm, seems like a risky move on the part of OFOT. What happens if there is landslide support for the lights?
J August 12, 2011 at 05:01 PM
I wouldn't hold my breath on that, Cathy. Fiscal responsibility will win out. Guess we'll find out. Unless district 87 tries to pull something.

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