South School Football Bleacher Supporter Speaks Up

A comment from a football fan about the Crystal Lake South High School bleachers:

Your choice of pictures seems to be somewhat prejudicial; as ones who have been vilified unfairly by media with agendas, I hope you reflect on your role to enhance the quality of this debate.

First, to anyone who is familiar with the layout of South High athletics, the administration has obviously placed the Port a Potties as far away from the NIMBY’s as possible. They are under the scoreboard, close to the middle of the endzone, not under the stands where they are placed at most fields. The picture chosen is at an angle in which the perspective does not convey this to the uninformed reader.

A side view of the new football bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School

A side view of the new football bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School

Second, the before and after pictures were not from the same spot, and the after picture angle alludes to a major change in the height of the new stands. The primary expansion was at the sides, the height of the central portion was not enhanced very much. The only real change was to the abutters who are looking at the new sections at that side, not those who chose to buy property in the back of the existing prior stands.

Third, these people bought houses adjacent to the existing High School, and I beleive the field was already there since the 1970’s. Because they are adjacent to a school the marketability is enhanced. They did not suffer the extent of the drop in home values during the last 7 years that the 99% of District 155 taxpayers did who are not within a short walk of an existing school.

Fourth, as far as education value, when I was active at Prarie Ridge, we found that at least one fourth of the student body had active, defined roles on weekends that the varsity has a home game. No other function of the school has the level of participation that a home football game has. They provide the largest audiences the band will see all year. Look at the private sector alternatives, Marion Catholic and other private high schools plan alumni and fund raising events centered on the enthusiasm and excitement a large supportive crowd brings to campus.


South School Football Bleacher Supporter Speaks Up — 17 Comments

  1. Were those bleachers filled last week-end.

    If the money-making fans produce the income, to justify this, then have them pay for the bleachers maintenance and upkeep.

    Oh and let us add, clean up.

  2. So wrong on all “points”.

    Not a well thought out agruement in favor of the bleachers.

  3. What a thoughtful response. Great points all around.

    They author responded to claims of property value loss and put into context a lot of the quibbling of others’.

    He pointed out that many of the pictures posted to the blog are deceptive in nature and not representative of how the bleachers actually look.

    Maybe a few shots from the air and or of the ENTIRE football field WITH the bleachers would be a better way for readers to make an informed decision.

    I really enjoy his point that people should realize the advantage to having such accommodating facilities for crowds – especially if they want to pursue fundraising possibilities in the future.

    To some of the other commentors:

    @anotherwatcher – Nice to see you again Zane. Don’t you think the district already pays for cleanup/maintenance. Seems like you are drawing on a moot point.

    @jgkm6 – What points did the author miss and what do you think would be a more acceptable solution to this problem? How do you think the author should have responded?

    @Paul Greenlee – Are you against children’s athletics? Didn’t realize Republicans were taking up against Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity so seriously. (that is a joke)

  4. The original poster’s third point lacks supporting data and flies in the face of appraisal/valuation theory.

    If the affected properties held their value versus others whose values dropped as claimed, that should be reflected in their assessed value; easy to research and post.

    The negative impact of the external obsolescence of the new stands (their blocking of any rear view other than the stands) would never be offset by the properties’ proximity to the school.

    There are undoubtedly alternative properties that are just as close to the school whose views are not disturbed by the new stands.

    The questions seems to be who was there first.

    If the school preceded the subdivision, buyers should have been aware of the possibility of larger bleachers eventually being added.

    However, if the subdivision was there first, those owners could never have anticipated one their four views being totally obstructed.

    That said, even of the school was there first, building the bleachers in their current location and thereby negatively influencing the property values of its taxpaying neighbors is among the worst public relations nightmares possible.

  5. Cindy, Cindy, Cindy

    The law protects the independence of school boards and specifically exempts them from control by local municipal politicians.

    That is the law.

    Crystal Lake City Ordinances have very little authority over the school district and act primarily as suggestions. In a contest between local polititions and a school board, the school board will eat them alive. Notice how, beyond a little pro forma grandstanding, no one is making any substantive political investment in this issue.

  6. #1. The placement of the potty’s were directly were under the bleachers and behind homes and next to food being served. They stayed there for a few weeks and their presence was announced at games. Only after negative press for the district & the school (whom neither will take responsibility for the placement of them) were they then moved to the far side of the bleachers and not under the scoreboards as stated.

    #2. There are plenty of before & after pictures taken in almost the exact same spots. Look them up. The old bleachers barely covered half of one of the homes affected and only a few feet of the other. Now the bleachers cover the entire property lines of 4 homes and affects many more on the block.

    #3. Doesn’t even make any sense so why bother to comment.

    #4. Yes, football can be fun and a good activity for the kids. Key word is activity not education.
    Bottom line is the district needs to follow all zoning laws. If they did then none of this would be happening at all. Does not matter who was there first. If your neighbor built something on their property that was against zoning then you would be notified. Amberwood residents should have been notified and given the chance to express their views/concerns. Frankly the entire thing should have been voted on in a referendum before the district went ahead and spent almost 1.2 mil. $$.

  7. Another comment for #3. the bleachers are much taller in the mid section that they were before. Approximately 15 to 20 feet higher and the trailer on top is twice as large.

    This year’s assessment would not even reflect the loss to the property’s value as the assessment reflect values from last year and the bleachers went up this year.

    You can look up aerial views too but they only show the old bleachers. I believe they went from just over 55 ft in length to now being almost 200 ft in length. A huge difference I’d say.

  8. As was pointed out, the new bleachers on the west side of the field tripled in width from approximately 60 feet to roughly 180 feet (from the 20 yard line to the opposite 20 yard line).

    The number of rows of seats roughly doubled from about 13 to about 26.

    The increase in height and width of the bleachers on the west side of the field has resulted in an almost 6-fold increase in volume.

    As to the educational aspect to this $1.2 million project, I’d like to see any sort of justification that shows that any students (players, band members, cheer squad, ball boys, spectators, etc.) are recognizing an incremental benefit versus the games held with the old bleacher configuration.

    The short answer is the obvious answer:

    There is no educational benefit. None. This started out as a $40,000 repair project to the press box and exploded into a $1.2 million monstrosity.

    And since the legal fight is a long way from concluding, the tab for this project is not yet finalized.

    So, the question is why did D155 embark on an unneeded bleacher expansion project that flipped the Home bleachers to the other side of the field (and into these folks’ back yards)?

  9. This is all in the hands of the courts, and I do believe the homeowners and the city of Crystal Lake will win in court.

    Look forward to Charlie Nelson eating crow.

  10. And the letter writer is…?

    Maybe the letter writer would be interested in purchasing one of the homes adjacent to the bleachers since it sounds like they feel it’s no big deal.

  11. Despite the burning out emotions of a small number of people, the courts will not order the dismantling of these bleachers. They will stand until they need to be replaced, about 40 more years.

    The only way these bleachers will come down is to elect a School Board pledged to dismantle them, a waste of over $1 million taxpayer dollars already spent.

    Good luck with that one.

  12. If you don’t like the manner in which High School District 155 has handled this situation, there are a few options.

    1. Ask your State Senator and State Representative to sponsor a bill to change state law so that local municipalities and residents are more involved in erecting structures on school property.
    Public schools complain they have to comply with too many laws, but look what happens if there is not a law preventing the erection of bleachers without notifying the press or neighboring residents.

    2. Become involved in the School Choice movement.

    For example, currently if a parent with a child attending High School District 155 wishes to take their child out District 155 schools, District 155 loses state funding known as General State Aid (GSA).

    The school does not lose any property tax dollars if the child is pulled from District 155 schools.
    The parent should be able to take GSA funding and some percentage of property tax funding and apply it to a private school or online school.

    Applying GSA to home school, or even online school, would require more checks and balances because of the potential for the parent to not be involved in the child’s education, leaving the child shortchanged.

    The monopolization of tax dollars by local public schools has resulted in major problems.

    In suburban and urban areas as society has progressed there is the potential for more options for the spending of tax education dollars than is currently being offered.

  13. The only thing taxpayers can do, is mitigate damage that bad Public Policy always creates.

    Or be just plain lucky, you don’t live in a town, like the one next door to me, that jammed a $100 M dollar bond down homeowners pockets, to build a $60 M, 30,000 seat palace of a Football Stadium.

    I still remember the “it’s for the kids” garbage, the small group of jackals were plying, to get this lunacy passed.

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