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updated: 11/18/2011 4:51 AM

Dist. 87 makes concessions on Memorial Field lights

Surprise concessions don't all please critics

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  • The Glen Ellyn plan commission met for the ninth time Thursday night to discuss variance requests for lights at Memorial Field.

      The Glen Ellyn plan commission met for the ninth time Thursday night to discuss variance requests for lights at Memorial Field.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

In response to community concerns, Glenbard High School District 87 officials say they're making concessions as part of their plan to install lights at Memorial Field in Glen Ellyn.

But that won't end the debate between supporters and opponents of the plan, which calls for installation of four 70-foot and two 60-foot light poles at the Glenbard West practice field.

Thursday marked the ninth meeting of the Glen Ellyn plan commission on variance requests for lights at Memorial Field. Commission members haven't yet officially debated the issue, while listening to public comment and testimony from Glenbard officials and representatives of Our Field, Our Town, a community group opposed to the lights.

Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for business services, said during Thursday's meeting school district officials would agree to some changes to their original plan. They include:

• No summer light usage, from June 1 to Aug. 14.

• No usage of the field, with lights, by third parties. But groups who currently pay for playing time at the field would still be able to use it in the daytime.

• Limiting Saturday night usage to no more than 14 nights during the school year.

• Forming an advisory group of Glenbard West administrators and neighbors.

McClain noted the district previously adjusted the "hard shut-off" time for the lights by a half-hour, to 9:30 p.m.

He estimated the field would be used 154 nights per year.

"We're open to making some concessions out of respect for the neighbors," McClain said. "We believe we're listening to community concerns. We've been good neighbors. We think we can make this work."

But after the meeting, members of Our Field, Our Town said they weren't satisfied with the concessions.

Jim Ozog, a village resident and attorney representing the group before the plan commission, said if the concessions were made earlier, then discussions between the two sides might have been more productive since January, when the lights were first proposed.

Kirk Burger, the group's organizer, added: "These are concessions without negotiations."

Ozog's wife, Mary Ozog, a member of the Glenbard school board and opponent of the lights, said she was upset district administrators never told her anything about the concessions.

McClain said they were the recommendation of the Glenbard administration and board President Rich Heim, who would bring the plan before the rest of the board.

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