CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Central’s varsity football players have had to play home games on their cross-town rival’s field for years, but now players will have one chance at a normal home game. 

“They brought it to us, and I was like well(sic.) it’s a short amount of time, but we’ll see what we can do,” said superintendent Dr. Sheila Boozer.  

Both school board members and city council members agreed to let them play one time at McKinley Field, but it came with a lot of heated debate from neighbors.  

Signs were posted in yards around McKinley. Some of them showed signs of support, while others were against the plan. Neighbors who didn’t want the game were worried about noise, lighting and parking. 

“I’m absolutely against it. When it all started, they said there would be no varsity games there,” said one neighbor.

Officials tried to address those concerns by making it a Saturday afternoon game.  

Michael Foellmer voted against it. He said he felt like this happened too quickly. While the amended agreement allows one game, he felt like he was making a decision about what could happen with future games. 

“I’m really disappointed so unfortunately, I cannot support this,” said Foellmer. 

On the other side, Mayor Deb Feinen says she got a lot of optimistic emails. 

 “People who are willing to give it a shot that they understand that this is something that could help to create community,” said Mayor Feinen. 

“I think it’s a beautiful field to go to waste, to only do JV and practice, I’ve always enjoyed it and when I was in high school many, many years ago they played varsity games there and I didn’t think it was a problem then,” said Dave Wilson, a neighbor. 

Two people who live near the field came to the city council meeting. Their support ultimately swayed member Vanna Pianfetti to vote yes.  

“The two individuals who spoke this evening convinced me that we need to think about what the community is willing to give a little bit,” said Pianfetti.  

Boozer says she can’t wait to tell her students the news. 

“Yes, I can’t wait to see the look on their faces and to hear it and their families. This is something that our boys have been wanting to do,” said Boozer. 

The game will be Saturday Sept. 24. That’s set for 1 p.m. on McKinley Field.