Lights will stay on in New Hope stadium
NEW HOPE The stadium lights are back on. Following outcry over the New Hope-Solebury school board's decision to cancel night sports games, the board reversed course this week, ensuring that a hallowed high school tradition will live on.
NEW HOPE The stadium lights are back on.
Following outcry over the New Hope-Solebury school board's decision to cancel night sports games, the board reversed course this week, ensuring that a hallowed high school tradition will live on.
One board member, Joe Harraka, said Thursday that officials may have been swayed after hearing "the scorn and angst and anger" from the community.
Board President Amanda Elefante recused herself from Monday night's vote, but agreed the board needed to address "discord" in the community.
But the vote didn't end the controversy. On Thursday, a local businessman filed an ethics complaint against one board member, Alison Kingsley, over the issue.
Kingsley and four others voted last month to end night sports games following this fall season. That action followed years of complaints about noise and lights from residents of a nearby street.
Community outrage followed, with an online petition gaining hundreds of signatures and students chanting "Save the Lights" at a football game.
Judy Finn, a New Hope parent who helped organize the opposition, was thrilled with this week's reversal.
"When they turned it over and I looked around at all the work we had done," she said, "I was pretty proud."
The board also disclosed this week that donors have pledged $360,000 toward a new stadium.
The hope, Harraka said, is that a privately financed stadium at a new location would ease neighbors' concerns about light and noise.
An architect is expected to deliver recommendations about the new field within two months, Harraka said.
The approved resolution, however, wasn't enough for Adam Rousselle, a New Hope businessman who filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission on Thursday.
In it, Rousselle said Kingsley, who proposed the initial vote to turn off the lights, is a real estate agent with a property listed on a street close to the stadium.
She "neither divulged to fellow board members nor to the public that she had a financial interest" in the property, the complaint says.
Kingsley, who voted Monday to put the lights back on, declined comment Thursday.
Elefante said Kingsley had notified the board in the spring about her involvement with the property.
Residents had also criticized Kurt Zander, another board member, for voting to turn off the lights last month. Zander lives on the street affected by stadium lights.
He defended his vote as impartial.
Like Kingsley, Zander voted Monday to turn the lights back on. He did not return messages left Thursday seeking comment.
Harraka said he's aware of the distrust in the community toward the board, but hopes that over time its integrity can be restored.
"The board has lost credibility. The board has lost legitimacy," he said. "I don't know how long it's going to take to repair that damage, to rehabilitate our standing in the eyes of the community."