September 13, 2019
Dear Plan Commission and Tag Evers,
The Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association (DMNA) has always seen the Edgewood schools as a cherished part of our neighborhood, and has historically weighed residential neighbors’ interests alongside Edgewood’s. DMNA wishes to welcome and encourage uses of the athletic field in ways that do not adversely impact the use and enjoyment of public spaces and other properties in the neighborhood. Use for daytime games, with reasonable restrictions, is acceptable to DMNA. Use of the field in some form by Edgewood has long been part of the neighborhood experience. For many years, both residents and Edgewood itself referred to the field as “the practice field,” and the language Edgewood chose to describe the field in the Campus Master Plan appears to reflect this shared understanding we had at the time.
This shared language described the *primary* purpose of the field. Neighbors understood that it did not preclude other uses--much in the same way that a parking lot is primarily used for parking cars, yet might occasionally contain a farmers market. Neighbors’ experience of field usage was consistent with this understanding; the playing of games was an infrequent occurrence.
This usage pattern changed with the resurfacing of the field, resulting in corresponding greater disruptive noise for neighbors. Competitive use of the field by both High School teams and outside organizations became a frequent occurrence. Cheering crowds and teammates, music, whistles, sirens, and track meet gunshots are all elements of competitive use that tend to occur far less or not at all during practices and physical education.
Edgewood’s substantial use of “the practice field” for competition represents a significant change for both those who have enjoyed using the field, and for neighbors who have been subjected to resulting noise. Just as DMNA has previously stated that we believe significant usage changes to a property’s zoning should require public input, so too do we believe that the marked change in field usage, and the increasing frequency and duration of disruption to neighbors, warrants collaborative neighborhood/Edgewood engagement. Unfortunately, the collaborative approaches of the past have been largely absent over the past few years. The results of our past collaboration are evident in the Campus Master Plan and other documents, and in Edgewood’s built environment--buildings and grounds that strive to be attractive, functional, sustainable, and sensitive to the surrounding residential community.
DMNA understands the importance of the field to Edgewood High School and is interested in finding a path forward that meets both neighborhood and institutional needs. Limiting the times, amounts, and types of usage in ways that minimize disruption to neighbors (e.g. daytime use only, Edgewood High School use only, limiting the number of games, restrictions on amplified sound) seems both reasonable and achievable. As we always have, DMNA would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with Edgewood, ideally resulting in a proposal to the City that all parties support.
Diego Saenz, Vice President of DMNA
On behalf of Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association