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Neighbors express concerns about Crystal Lake South football renovations

CRYSTAL LAKE – Construction on the Crystal Lake South High School football bleachers continued Friday amidst arguments between the city and District 155 on whether the district should have been following Crystal Lake zoning ordinances.

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley delivered a letter to the chair of the District 155, board members and the superintendent, asking that the district to temporarily halt the stadium construction and pursue zoning and storm water approvals from the city.

The district maintains that they have the required permits from the Regional Office of Education, and do not need to follow city ordinances.

Meanwhile, the neighbors on Amberwood Drive continue to hear the banging of hammers and beeping of trucks as work continues on bleachers that they believe are an eyesore to the neighborhood.

“We saw the stadium. We knew what was there,” said Alan Ambers, who moved to Amberwood Drive a year ago. “After school shut down [for the summer] they tore it down. OK so fine, they're rebuilding it. And then it went up, and up, and up. It's a lot higher.”

Ambers said he didn't mind living next to a football stadium and enjoyed the games in the fall. But now he's worried about the excess noise that will come from the home-side bleachers up against his property line, and the effect it will have on the value of his home.

“I'm hoping that it wont impact my resale value, just because I'm just over [to the right of the bleachers]. While those next 4 houses [to the left], I don't see how it couldn't.”

Kimberly Maselbas lives directly behind the bleachers and spoke to a real estate agent who told her the construction may lower the value of her home anywhere between $10,000-$40,000.

“It's going to be hard to find someone who wants to live here,” she said. “We never considered selling the house until now.”

Maselbas said the sun doesn't peak over the bleachers until 8:30 a.m. Her kids are scared by the construction noises and don't want to play in the backyard. Her windows have remained shut all summer long.

But the biggest issue is the height of the bleachers, she said. And if there was more communication between the district and the neighborhood, those concerns could have been expressed earlier.

Invitations were handed out by the district to the neighbors for a meeting on Monday regarding the project, something residents of Amberwood Drive would have preferred months ago.

“It's something we could have all discussed at a meeting before all of this started,” Maselbas said.

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