At a forum tonight at the Webster House apartment building, five aldermanic candidates for the 43rd Ward – Bita Buenrostro, Chuck Eastwood, Tim Egan, Michele Smith, and Rafael Vargas – unanimously declared their opposition to the Francis Parker School’s plan to install stadium lighting on its Lincoln Park West field.
Webster House hosted the aldermanic candidates at a party for residents and invited guests. More than 115 people crowded into the apartment’s lobby to hear an update on Francis Parker Neighbors’ campaign against the Parker School’s lighting plan. The principal question of the evening was how the aldermanic candidates would react to Parker’s announcement of February 8th that it was putting its field plans on hold “for the time being.”
Tom Silfen, the moderator, announced that Vi Daley had told the school last week to drop the lights from their proposal. Silfen urged the aldermanic candidates to uphold Daley’s precedent. Otherwise, Parker would be able to keep the neighborhood in suspense, wondering if and when the lighting proposal would return. As Silfen said, the neighbors had already spoken: they did not want stadium lights. “If Parker’s lighting plan was impossible today, it will be just as impossible in six months or fifteen months or three years.”
One by one, to the cheers of the overflow crowd, the candidates declared their opposition to the lighting of Parker’s field. The next alderman of the 43rd Ward will take office already on record as opposed to Parker’s lighting plan.
We are very grateful to the Webster House for hosting this event, to the aldermanic candidates who attended, and to all of the volunteers who have joined together to defend the neighborhood against the Parker School’s ill-conceived scheme.
A great day, but the end of this story will not be written until Francis Parker Neighbors obtains a commitment from the school to abandon its lighting project.