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Wisconsin High School Continues Fight to Light Field

Andy Berg

A Madison, Wis., high school is hoping it will finally get to turn on the Friday night lights pending approval of a new proposal before the city council.

Edgewood High School has been embroiled in a three-year fight to use its new $1.5 million state-of-the-art field after the City of Madison blocked the school from holding games at the new facility.

After the field was completed, residents complained that increased use of the field, including lights and a sound system — improvements that cost an additional $1.5 million — would disrupt the neighborhood.

After appealing the Plan Commission’s refusal to allow lights back in May, Edgewood has now proposed a deal to allow lights but with a limited number of night games or events, as well as strict deadlines on when the lights would need to be turned off. 

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, under the proposal, the school could use lights for 15 games during the current school year through July 31, 30 games during the 2021-22 school year, and 40 games during the 2022-23 school year and thereafter. Games could start no later than 7:30 p.m., and lights would have to be turned off 30 minutes after games end and no later than 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

“We’re trying to continue to work with the neighborhood and come up with options,” Edgewood High School president Michael Elliott told the Journal, noting that many residents support the lights.

The local neighborhood association has proposed an agreement based on limiting noise and not on the number of games. The neighborhood is proposing that game day noise be limited to 60 decibels at adjacent properties.

“We do not believe Edgewood’s proposal is a compromise,” Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association president Rachel Fields told the Journal. “They continue to put forth proposals with a very similar number of games to what they proposed in 2017, 2018 and 2019.”

Edgewood can continue working with the neighborhood or follow through with its appeal before the City Council this week.

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