It was a classic, standing-room-only "us versus them" showdown in the the city council chamber, complete with a string of experts who explained the many steps the school was taking to make sure their new athletic field, with lights for night use, a permanently-installed P.A. system, and a scoreboard one of the school's neighbors described as a "mini Jumbotron," would not bother people who live across the street from St. Stephen's.
St. Stephen's faculty and staff, along with a number of students' parents, also spoke in favor of the lighted fields.
In opposition, a group of neighbors trotted out concerns about light, noise, and traffic, and contended that the property on which the athletic field will be built was left to the community in perpetuity as parkland by benefactor W.D. Sugg, who wanted that property to be left in its natural condition, not developed.
None of the arguments, on either side, were new. Today's testimony was essentially a reprise of statments -- on both sides -- made to the Bradenton Planning Commission in February. (You can read about that meeting here.)
After about three hours listening to witnesses' arguments, the council voted 4 to 1 in favor of the lighted athletic field. Vice Mayor Byrd was the lone dissenter.