Some neighbors who live in homes closest to Columbia’s baseball stadium under construction are anxious to learn Tuesday about the findings of long-awaited lighting and noise studies that many say were done without listening their concerns.
Leaders of four neighborhoods immediately around the ballpark told The State newspaper Monday they were not consulted while Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams as well as Musco Sports Lighting worked on the studies.
The public will hear the consultants’ conclusions for the first time during council’s 6 p.m. meeting. The consultants did not attach a copy of their reports to council’s online agenda.
But the consultants said they were meet Wednesday to discuss their findings with neighbors. The scheduled four-hour meeting was canceled Tuesday morning.
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“No neighborhood was asked about it,” said Elizabeth Marks, president of the Robert Mills Historic District, which abuts the massive Bull Street project on the south. “It’s interesting that they’ve gone ahead and built (the stadium) and now they’re having a noise and lighting study. It is kind of like closing the barn door after the cows have escaped.”
Ellen Cooper, president of the adjacent Cottontown Neighborhood Association, agrees. “I didn’t know they had even hired any consultants,” said the community activist.
She wonders if the stadium will have to abide by the city’s excessive noise ordinance. “Are they going to have fireworks (after games)? We support the stadium. We just want to make sure our neighborhood lives are not going to be interrupted.”
Other neighborhood groups that are a few blocks further from the stadium either are all right with the spillover of noise and lights or resigned to the side effects of the $37 million, year-round stadium.
“It’s a good distance away. I don’t think it will bother us,” said Terry Davis, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, which consists largely of condominium owners in the 36-block area around Main Street north of Elmwood Avenue.
Davis said she understands the concerns of residents who live adjacent to the stadium and the 165-acre former state mental health agency campus.
Jim Morris, past present of the downtown organization, said of the stadium, “It’s a done deal. It needs to work.”
John Gibson, president of the Elmwood Park Neighborhood Organization, said the concern where he lives is more with traffic volume during stadium events. “I hope they have a Plan A and a Plan B,” Gibson said of traffic control.
Marks of the Robert Mills neighborhood said residents have been asking for lighting, noise and traffic studies since before the city turned over control of Bull Street campus construction to Greenville developer Bob Hughes. “What can we do?” she said of neighborhood concerns.
“We can hear the PA system from the Benedict College stadium and that’s a mile away,” she said. “So what’s going to happen when this facility is just hundreds of yards away?”
Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.
If you go
City Council meets Tuesday in a work session followed by a regular council meeting. The agendas include discussions at the afternoon meeting about homelessness and funding for the “yellow shirt” program in the Vista. The evening meeting includes final votes on nuisance and false fire alarms.
When: 2 p.m. work session; 6 p.m. regular meeting
Where: The work session is in the second-floor conference room. The regular meeting is in council chambers on the third floor. Both are at City Hall, 1737 Main St.