Bexley News

Residents' concerns remain

Meeting shows proposal hasn't changed minds

Second meeting regarding Capital's stadium project set Nov. 18 at the high school

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At the first of two public meetings to be held this month on Capital University's revised proposal to add lighting and a new sound system to its Bernlohr Stadium, residents continued to express concerns about noise, traffic, parking and safety.

Capital initially submitted its stadium proposal at the Planning Commission's April 22 meeting. The proposal sought the addition of four 110-foot-tall light poles and six new speakers to the 2,500-seat stadium.

In June, Capital University officials announced the university would indefinitely table the stadium proposal in response to several concerns raised in discussions. The Bexley Planning Commission was to review a revised proposal from Capital on Oct. 28, but the proposal was withdrawn from the commission's agenda to allow for more public comment at meetings scheduled for Nov. 6 and 18.

The revised proposal states that lights are expected to be turned off during games no later than 9:30 p.m. on weekdays 10 p.m. in the event of an unforeseen delay, such as weather, to an athletic contest; and by 10:30 p.m. for Saturday games, 11 p.m. in the event of an unforeseen delay. Lights are to be turned off by 9:15 p.m. for practices.

The revised proposal also states, "In addition to the time limitations set forth ... the university's Athletic Department will be permitted to use lights from Aug. 1 through Nov. 30, and from Jan. 15 through April 30. Lights will generally not be used during December, May, June, or July unless for a community-sponsored event, to accommodate an OAC- or NCAA-sanctioned playoff event."

The revised proposal also sets limits for pre-game music and in-game announcements, specifying the sound system would not be used during practices.

Despite these terms, most residents who spoke at the Nov. 8 meeting said they are not satisfied with the university's revised proposal.

Cassingham Road resident Megan Northrup echoed several of her neighbors who said they would like more details about Capital's long-term development plans.

"It just seems like that would give us a better picture of how the stadium is going to be used and what you foresee as how many nights it's going to be used, how many people are really going to be here," she said.

Several residents questioned whether Capital's stadium proposal is consistent with goals stated in the Southwest Master Plan, which the city of Bexley adopted in 2003.

Mayor Ben Kessler said the Southwest Master Plan contains a memorandum of understanding between the city and Capital that campus development can occur south of East Main Street, north of Astor and west to Alum Creek.

Kessler said he believes the Southwest Master Plan should be reviewed to identify areas that need to be updated.

"It's time for the parties to come back together and renew that (agreement) and figure out what things need to change," Kessler said.

Euclaire Avenue resident Kevin Brashear said the memorandum of understanding in Capital's revised proposal is "about as vague as can be" and doesn't have enough specifics about how late activities at the stadium will last. He said he would like for the university to increase communication with area residents, which might allay some of their concerns.

"It would dull some pitchforks in the room, definitely put out some fires in the room, if the communication was a two-way street, and it hasn't been," he said.

Capital University Athletic Director Steve Bruning said the university is taking the residents' concerns into account.

"We hear those concerns," he said, "and it's helpful to hear them in this forum."

The next public meeting about Capital's stadium proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 18 at Bexley High School, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

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