Tuesday, August 16

War Over Giant Bleachers at Crystal Lake South High Could End in Complete Demolition

stadiumAfter more than two years of legal and community battles, the giant stadium bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School are starting to come back down. According to the McHenry County-area newspaper NWHerald.com, a crew of workers started the take-down process at the end of October. Now the only question left to be answered is if they’re going to reduce the size of the outdoor seating structure or demolish the bleachers completely.

Both the Community High School District 155 Board and neighboring property owners that initiated the legal proceedings against the school district over the obtrusive bleachers had previously agreed upon lowering it to the ninth row, but attorneys for both sides aren’t ready to say the plan is finalized yet.

The Illinois Supreme Court decided at the end of September that Crystal Lake School District was out of line when they constructed the stadium seating without prior permission from local zoning authorities. It didn’t take long for neighbors in the shadow of 50-feet of durable bleachers to voice their complaints over the possible privacy, noise, and overall unappealing aesthetic nature that could affect property value concerns.

The mandate that was originally handed down by McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel calls for the complete demolition of the structure, but school officials are pushing for a comprise that would see the bleachers reduced to 18-feet high. While the property owners are accepting of this compromise, they also don’t want to agree to anything without assurance that other conditions will be met, according to the group’s attorney, Tom Burney.

Landscaping, storm drainage, press box location, privacy, and noise restrictions are all elements they want addressed before an agreement to stop the demolition order will be met.

“My concern right now is we’re not going to be able to get something done, and we’re going to have to demolish them all the way to the ground because we can’t come to an agreement,” Burney said.

The school originally spent $1.2 million erecting the bleachers and it’s estimated it could cost another $1.5 million to take them down, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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