ABC 6 Investigates RCTC Stadium Noise Concerns

Updated: 01/23/2014 6:21 PM
Created: 01/23/2014 5:46 PM
By: Ellery McCardle

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- $6 million dollars in city sales tax money was set aside to expand Rochester Community and Technical College's athletic stadium.

By fall it will become the largest stadium in the area and as you would assume, much noisier.

That's a concern for Michael Cleary, who can see part of this stadium from his house.

"It's beautiful, there's nothing but forest, fields," said Cleary.

That's why he built his house on Bridgeview Lane.

"I never thought I'd live on a peaceful corner of Rochester," said Cleary.

He thinks an expansion of RCTC's stadium will jeopardize that peace and quiet. When finished, the stadium will hold 5,000 people, big enough for state tournaments.

"We're excited to be host for events that could bring new entertainment to the city," said Cleary.

"We felt that would be a great economic value for the community," said Staver.

Cleary is worried the value of his home will go down. He emailed city leaders a list of questions asking how the project will affect his neighborhood. More than one month later, still no answer.

We went to city leaders to get some answers. Cleary's main concern is noise. He says, already during games "I can hear really every whistle blow."

But Rochester city council president Randy Staver says "the noise from the new seating will be directed towards the existing seating so it may act as a bit of a buffer."

"What we're going to have to do is monitor the sound," said Gail O'Kane, interim president of RCTC.

There's talk of having marching band competitions, but what about big concerts? O'Kane says they haven't talked about it. 

We're told landscaping between the neighborhood and RCTC could be an option to dampen noise and speakers may be moved. But again, officials won't know how much louder it may be until those big tournaments actually happen.

Out Cleary's back window, you can see lights from the stadium. Will that change?

"There's no plan to greatly increase lighting," said O'Kane.

So why didn't anyone respond to Cleary's email right away?

"We felt as a council there was sufficient mitigation and distance between the stadium and adjoining neighborhood that we didn't feel noise would be a significant issue," said Staver.

Cleary says he isn't against the project. He just hopes the peaceful sounds of Bridgeview Lane will stay.

"I'm hoping Rochester will come to this corner and help us out," said Cleary.

We are working to get more of Cleary's questions answered. This week, a city official responded to some of his questions by email.

Construction on the project will begin this spring.