As neighbors who live in close proximity to OPRF High School, we wholeheartedly support stadium lights not only for adding much-needed practice time for our high school athletic teams, but more importantly for creating an important “sense of place” for the high school and the community at large.

We understand that there may be some inconvenience to the residents across the street and that it will be the responsibility of the school and greater community to work hard to be considerate of our neighbors. But a lighted stadium will not be the first thing in Oak Park to be deemed worthwhile, despite some inconvenience to immediate neighbors. Take the Saturday Farmers’ Market, for example: Nobody would deny that it is a wonderful amenity for all residents of our village. However, if you ask those of us who live on the 100 and 200 blocks of Elmwood how the Farmers’ Market affects us, we would tell you that for the sake of this beloved institution, we have been willing to:

Put up with truck noise waking us up in the morning darkness;

Put up with increased traffic and double parking on our street;

Put up with people walking on our lawns and gardens;

Put up with the litter that is left behind, and

Put up with all of these inconveniences for five months every year!

Yes, it may be an inconvenience to us personally, but we sincerely believe that the “sense of place” that the Farmers’ Market engenders in our community and the enjoyment we derive from attending the market on Saturdays outweighs the inconvenience we must endure. It should be noted that we have aired our concerns to the Farmers’ Market management, which has worked with us in good faith to address these issues and provide remedies where possible. We expect no less of OPRF High School in addressing issues that may be raised by stadium lights, and are confident of the school’s good faith in this regard.

As neighbors of the high school, parents of OPRF students, and community members who have experienced a “sense of place” at the Farmers’ Market, we believe that stadium lights represent an important opportunity for villagers of Oak Park and River Forest to experience another “sense of place” while watching our children play sports in a lighted stadium. The excitement of cheering on our teams under the lights, while sharing hot chocolate and hot dogs with family and friends in the stands, will be as exhilarating as the smell of fresh donuts, the sight of bushels of apples, and the fun of catching up with friends at the Farmers’ Market.

We respectfully urge the Zoning Board to create a new “sense of place” in this community by approving lights at OPRF stadium.

Donna and Thomas Weigel, Janet and Ken Schiffman, Marcia and Gary Myers, Kate and Dean Yannias, Kathy and Rick Klaus, Lynn Taylor and Tom White, Donna Stephens, Jean and Al Berggren, Anna Kelley and Tom DeLano, Victoria Matranga, David and Mena Boulanger, Roberta and Julio Mandam, Pamela Whitehead and Pete Miller, Paul Dengel and Paula Morency, Alan Gugel and Sandra Dawson, Candice and Paul Buchbinder, Bill Lovaas and Cakie Conroy-Lovaas, Adrienne and Tom McMullen

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