Capital University has decided to indefinitely table its proposal to add lighting and a new sound system to its Bernlohr stadium, Athletic Director Steve Bruning announced June 19 at the third of a series of public meetings about the issue with the Bexley Planning Commission.
Bruning added, however, that Capital would take public feedback into account if the university should decide to resubmit the proposal.
The plan, which called for adding four 110-foot-tall light poles and six new speakers to the 2,500-seat stadium, was introduced at an April 22 commission meeting. The planning commission previously took comment on the plan at a June 3 meeting.
At the June 19 meeting, several residents voiced opposition to the details of the tabled proposal, expressing concerns that had been raised at the two previous meetings about noise, congestion and safety.
Bexley Councilman Richard Sharp spoke at the meeting, saying he was not addressing the commission in his role as an elected official but as a College Avenue resident.
"When you add additional games, whatever sport it is, on a yearlong basis, residents to the east will deal with issues that residents to the west and the south have dealt with, with students drinking, tailgating; all sort of problems like that will move to the east," said Sharp, who is a Capital alumnus.
Cassingham Road resident Megan Northrup said she's a Capital alumna who feels loyalty to the university but is concerned about parking issues that the proposed upgrade could create.
"What is already a problem, you're doubling or tripling because (Capital has) stated that you want to double and triple attendance at these events," she said.
Havenwood Drive resident David Stebenne said increased traffic congestion could pose a safety risk, especially for children who live in the neighborhoods surrounding Capital.
"Putting more cars ... I just can't see how that would not affect safety for kids and for teenagers," he said. "The whole point of living in Bexley is it's a good place to raise kids."
Pleasant Ridge resident Robert Taylor said he was concerned that the proposed stadium upgrade would drive down residential property values while doing little to increase student enrollment at Capital.
"It's limited impact for Capital, huge impact for us," Taylor said. "I think it's short-term thinking, trying to keep up with the Joneses and attract that student who's not going to show up because there's lights."
Bruning said the proposed stadium upgrade was driven by requests from students.
"We survey our students every so often. Within the last three to five years, the biggest request we've gotten" is for more athletic offerings, which would require increased stadium usage, Bruning said.
Capital will take all of the residents' feedback into account, he said, but no time frame has been determined in regard to resubmitting the stadium plan to the city.