Neighbors approve project agreements

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The school district and the city have made an agreement on two projects. They’re upgrades to South Side Elementary School and McKinley Field. 

McKinley Field wll turn into a track and football field. The field house will be expanded, and they’ll add more parking.

Amber King and her family have lived in the neighborhood off and on for years. 

They’re excited about the plans, but understand their neighbors concerns. 

“When we get stuck in our driveways that can be a little frustrating. Just thinking through, how’s traffic going to flow where are we going to go for games and bigger games once the lights are in,” states King.

During the planning process, the district wanted lights to be 25 feet. Now they’ll stick to the height of the other lights around south side at 15 feet.        

“They ended up receding that waiver due to concerns from the neighborhood and people voicing their concerns and I think they were responsive to that,” says Alicia Beck, District 2 City Council Representative.      

As a neighborhood, people were concerned about noise levels, traffic, and the fencing on the South Side of the field. 

Now the neighborhood will get the privacy they wanted.

The lights will be directional lighting, so it’ll point towards the ground of the field.

They’ll also have lights dimmed to 50 percent and the lights have to be dimmed after 11 P.M. 

“I would rather have lights and a little extra traffic here than have them move the stadium way outside of town where it makes it harder for local people to and enjoy the community events,” says King.

“Seeing the outcome is what’s ultimately will sway people to whether or not this is a good thing for the neighborhood,” says Beck.

Beck anticipates people will be pleased with a lot that changes. She does plan to help monitor for unexpected concerns that may come up in the future. 

South side’s work will cost an estimated $11.1 million and McKinley Field will be $6.6 million.

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