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Residents Continue to Weigh in on Memorial Field

Supporters and opponents shared their opinions during the sixth public hearing.

As the controversy surrounding a proposed $300,000 lighting system at Memorial Field entered its sixth night of public hearings, supporters and opponents voiced their opinions on the project.

In urging the commissioners to approve the variances for lights at the field, Ted Burns, a member of the school’s marching band, said the band often has to practice formations in the gymnasium because the sun has set, leaving the band in the dark. Burns said parents and band boosters have to tape off hash-marks on the court then remove the tape at the end of each practice. Marching on the court hinders the band’s readiness not only for school athletic competitions, but also band competitions, he said.

“We have a lack of field space here at Glenbard West. Adding lights would greatly help,” he said.

Likewise, Rebecca Majewski, a Glenbard West mother, said adding lights would benefit the school and students. She said the students who are bussed to six other off-campus fields leased by the schools do not have access to certain basic needs in case of illness or injury, such as restrooms or team trainers. Majewski said the lights are a benefit, which is why the District 87 board of education supported erecting the lights.

“I trust the school board would not have voted in favor of the light proposal unless they were convinced the lights were in the best interest of the students,” she said.

Building on carting students back and forth to practice fields, Karen Judge, a Glenbard West field hockey coach, said the addition of lights would cut down on the issue and allow students to get home sooner. Judge also said the addition of lights at Memorial Field would also add a safety component by illuminating Crescent Boulevard, which separates the field and the school.

But that illumination is the problem, said Kirk Burger, president of Our Field, Our Town, the group leading the charge of opposition. A lighting professional, Burger said the lighting plan is unacceptable due to excess light spilling onto Crescent and into the surrounding neighborhood. He challenged the plans presented to the village by Musco Lighting, the firm tapped by the school district to erect the lights. Burger said they do not adequately address glare, sky glow or “vertical spillage” into the neighborhoods. He also criticized the village zoning ordinance which treats athletic lighting structures the same as street lamps.

“They are not apples and apples. There’s a vast difference between those lights. No football field should be lit by street lights and no street should be lit by stadium lights,” Burger said.

Jeff Gahris, a member of the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, said more information on the impact of the lighting is needed. He also said if the village ultimately approves the plan they should demand a follow up consultation to see if the lights are working as Musco promised when they presented the plans.

Donald Pydo charged commissioners with looking for possible unintended consequences that installing the lights would generate. He said there are bound to be unforeseen issues from “changing the character of the village.”

Thursday night’s public hearing will not be the last one on the matter. Plan Commission Chairwoman Julie Fullerton announced at least one more public hearing will take place, which is set for Oct. 27. Fullerton said there are at least six people signed up to address the board who have not had a chance to address the crowds. Fullerton said she also wanted to give people a chance to speak that were unable to make Thursday night’s meeting.

Albert October 21, 2011 at 02:38 PM
The responsibilty falls on the zoning commission and the village board. Yet, I would be interested in a general public vote, though not binding, merely to see how the citizens feel
Jay Donovan October 21, 2011 at 03:47 PM
There are members of both sides - proponents and opponents - that feel the same. This is a highly contentious issue with heady opposition. It should be up to a vote. District 87 should act honorably and withdraw the application until such time.
Ramona October 21, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Who will vote? All of district 87? So, people in Lombard and Carol Stream can voice their opinion? Or, just Glen Ellyn,so people who live by Glenbard South can voice their opinion on the light issue around West? What are the costs for such a referendum?
pat h. October 21, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Everybody who pays taxes into D87 should have a say on how their tax dollars are spent in the school district. A referendum is attached to the regular November ballot so the cost is likely negligible.
Ramona October 21, 2011 at 06:12 PM
But this refendum is not about tax money, and it is "supposed" to be funded without tax dollars. These meetings are regarding variences to the exsisiting codes. Why would people in Lombard care how close the bleachers are to the property line?
pat h. October 21, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Putting out a referendum to gauge public opinion of all interested and qualified voters is democratic. At little or no cost, whats the downside? I too would like to know how the voters feel.
J October 21, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Let the voters have their opinions tabulated. Ramona, or 'Mom on the GEBB', a couple things-- 1) It is always, at some level, about the tax money. The meetings now are about the variances, but if passed, it then becomes ALL about the tax money. The tax money that the district has tossed around like nickels in reference to the deception on the turf spending. At least, with a referendum, the board members will see where public opinion is. 2) My lord, woman, please learn how to spell. It casts a cloud over everything you say. You consistantly misspell on the GEBB.
Ramona October 21, 2011 at 09:09 PM
I know, since I type things out quickly and move on with life. See, I don't have all day to sit and moniter my computer, I do have a life. I agree with you, it does come down to money. After last night's meeting, I believe that if you follow the OTOF funding, I bet that they have ties with the turf industry. Seemed very ingenious to start that sales pitch during a meeting on lights for an artificially turfed field. I would like to know which voters you want to include?
J October 21, 2011 at 09:26 PM
The only thing that would be fair would be for all of 87's voters to vote. They do all pay the bills. I doubt that there would be a way to only include GW district voters. If there was, that would be fine as the other district schools have lights and wouldn't be effected by this. It is non-binding.
pat h. October 21, 2011 at 09:28 PM
I just received a notice in my e-mail from the GBW Boosters. I have excerpted the salient quote. Not sure what it means but it reads like they may be backpedaling on financing for the lights... "At the meeting of the Glenbard West Booster Board this evening there was an open discussion regarding capital improvements at Memorial Field and the variances proposed by the District 87 administration to the Village of Glen Ellyn Plan Commission. The Board resolved to voice support for the approval of these variances without making any commitment regarding financial support."
Anne October 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM
consistenly. c-o-n-s-i-s-t-E-n-T-l-y. "This poster consistently avoids commenting on spelling, sure that she herself will soon goof."
Jane October 21, 2011 at 10:52 PM
A referndum to all Dist 87 would have to say something like this: "Should Dist 87 submit a variance application to the Village of Glen Ellyn to install lights on Memorial Field?" Note that Dist 87 cannot install lights without Village approval. A referendum to Village of Glen Ellyn voters would say: " Should the Village of Glen Ellyn grant the variances requested in Dist 87's zoning application?"
J October 21, 2011 at 10:57 PM
The District has already asked GE for the variance. The ref would be on 'should the district install lights at Memorial Field'. There should also be verbiage about it costing the taxpayers. For a change of pace the District should be upfront to its paying customers.
Jane October 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM
Dist 87 does not have the authority to install lights without zoning approval from the Village, so they could not have a referendum with such a question. Unless... the Village approves the current application first, then a referendum with the question you pose above.
Dick October 21, 2011 at 11:17 PM
I am surprosed that there is no mention in this story of the Union Pacific correspondence with Dist 87 and Village planning staff which was presented at the meeting. The Union Pacific RR email from Aug 2011 stated, in part: "..this is the WORST location for this type of activity near an active rail line...we idle freight trains in this area... the staging area is close Memorial Field..."
Dick October 21, 2011 at 11:29 PM
Environmental Group sues Union Pacific in Federal Court for diesel exhaust emissions idling trains. http://docs.nrdc.org/air/files/air_11102101a.pdf
denise stano October 22, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Enough already! How many meetings are needed to make this decision? One group is opposed to lights, one group favors lights -- do we need to continue scheduling more discussions? Let send this to the Board and have them decide.
Don Pydo October 22, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Why the rush? In order for The Plan Comission to act all revelent information must be provided before a vote can be taken. Lights at Memorial will forever change the character and charm of our community. All information and available options should be brought forword prior to any final decesion.
Don Pydo October 22, 2011 at 04:58 PM
From an earlier post Ramona and all others in favor of lights at Memorial Field: You are correct, I presented to the GE Plan Commission there are 3 Emerging Sports/10 Teams. I clearly acknowledged Girls Lacrosse has played at Hadley since 2008 (all information supplied to us from D87 in a FOIA request). The issue is the need for additional field time at Memorial Field, one the Girls Lacrosse team has heavily lobbied. Our Field, Our Town has always been a proponent for the good of Glen Ellyn. Our mission includes top educational programs, sports, extracurricular activities, safety, integrity to the character of GE, property values, et al. Lights at Memorial Field have a divisive impact upon our community. OFOT’s position is to bring forth solutions that benefit both the student athletes and the community. Last Thursday, I proposed various options to the GE Plan Commission. The most exciting is the installation of a Hybrid playing surface at Duchon Field. It combines natural grass & woven synthetic fibers in an organic filled base with thousands of installations world-wide (unlike Memorial Field- the fill is made up of approximately 10,000 shredded tires). This becomes a Win-Win for the community and GBW. We ask all members of the community to encourage D87 to thoroughly investigate all options before installing stadium lighting that will forever change the character of Glen Ellyn.
Rich Magurkey October 23, 2011 at 03:28 PM
The argument against lights because they will change the character of our village is comical. How is the sight of our youth playing sports in any way going to harm our character? The OFOT people are really stretching on this argument. Just look at the "character" of your enclave as described above......"..this is the WORST location for this type of activity near an active rail line...we idle freight trains in this area... the staging area is close Memorial Field...". Environmental Group sues Union Pacific in Federal Court for diesel exhaust emissions idling trains. Why aren't these people complaining about the lack of character on the newly paved and sidewalked stretch of Riford from St. Charles to Oak. The sidewalks were added as a safety mechanism for kids going to school but no one (including the village) bothered to shovel their sidewalks ALL WINTER long. How do you suppose that sight affected the "character" of our village? I'm guessing that there weren't many complaints about this unsafe condition from the OFOT people then. Some people will resist change at any cost.
J October 23, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Rich, you talk about character. Where there is a lack of fiscal responsibility, there is a lack of character. 'Some people will resist change at any cost'? Some people don't care what things cost, if it involves their kids. The old entitled mentality.
Don Pydo October 23, 2011 at 05:30 PM
All members of OFOT are huge supporters of athletics. In fact most members will have, currently have or had children who were involved in athletics. There is no relationship to the sounds of high school athletes performing and 70’/60’ stadium lighting towers. The issue consistently presented by D87 and supporters of lights is the need for expanded practice/game time on Memorial Field. This situation is created with the addition of three Emerging Outdoor Sports. Currently, Girls Lacrosse is played at Hadley Jr. H.S, but all three of these sports have lobbied heavily for expanded field time. The lights have been presented as the vehicle in which to attain that objective. The issue is not lights, but expanded field usage in the proximity of the main campus. Duchon Field has become a non-performing asset since Field Turf was installed on Memorial Field.
Don Pydo October 23, 2011 at 05:32 PM
Pursuant Freedom of Information Act documents presented by D87, all outdoor sports with the exception football have been eliminated at Duchon. OFOT believes there are potential alternatives to expand field space at Duchon. There have been significant technological advances made with “natural grass” fields, synthetic turf fields with organic fill bases (not shredded tires like the field at Memorial) and “hybrid” turf fields that combine natural grass with woven synthetic fibers into an organic fill base (Lambeau Field and thousands more). OFOT believes all efforts should shift to a solution that provides a “Win-Win” for the community. Student athletes will gain field space and the community will retain the charm and character around GBW, the gateway to GE business district from the east. Most gratifying is the opportunity to reduce traffic and safety concerns for the students and commuters.
Ramona October 26, 2011 at 11:54 AM
So, you are saying that there will be less dangerous traffic if we use Duchon Field more?

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