The conflict between Oak Park and River Forest High School and local neighbors both in favor of and opposed to the school’s plan to light its football stadium will go another round with public discussion scheduled for Jan 17.
The school will hold its latest public hearing on lighting the stadium next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the school, 201 N. Scoville Ave., in the third floor library.
The school has held public hearings on the stadium lights issue since fall 2005. The school has set a preliminary date of July 2006 for installing lights.
The school proposes restricting night events to only five varsity football games per year, and to have lights turned off at 8 p.m. The school’s other varsity teams?#34;boys’ and girls’ soccer and lacrosse, and field hockey?#34;would play up to two night games each.
An exception in the school’s plan would allow the varsity football team, if it makes the state playoffs to play at least one home game under lights.
The OPRF Booster Club and some neighbors have said they support lighting the stadium. Neighbors opposed complain that lighting the stadium at night would increase traffic congestion, trash, and disrupt their normal lives.
The school said it would work to keep trash and excessive traffic activity to a minimum. Neighbors also complain about possible light spillage in their homes, which the school said it would work to reduce.
Late last year, the school said it would conduct studies into traffic and safety before going forward with its stadium plans.
A tentative proposal by the school calls for OPRF security to outline a safety plan for all night games, and for the school to consider lighting systems to reduce to the amount of spillage from the stadium. The OPRF Boosters have committed to raising the necessary funds to do so.
According to the plan’s timetable, the school has until February to address neighbors’ concerns. If the District 200 school board approves, the school will submit its plan to the village board.