Residents near T.C. Williams High School raise concerns on propo - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Residents near T.C. Williams High School raise concerns on proposed football stadium lights

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -

A battle over lights is brewing in one Alexandria community and it is pitting neighbor against neighbor.

The lights are being proposed for Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium at T.C. Williams High School. But some residents are concerned about the impact on their quality of life. Some of their homes back right into the football stadium.

Adrienne Terrell-Washington is a lifelong resident of Alexandria and attended T.C. Williams. Her family owned part of the land the school is built on.

She and a good number of her neighbors believe the city and school haven't kept up their end of a deal families struck years ago to make sure the neighborhood wouldn't be negatively impacted by activities at the school.

Neighbors complain that a fence separating the properties has been allowed to rust and decay. They say there is constant trash, public urination and overgrown bushes and trees.

One neighbor complained that from her bedroom window, her young son saw two students having sex behind the fence. She also said some students jump over the poorly maintained fence into their properties when they are trying to ditch school.

Other neighbors say the traffic is another major problem.

They say the deal they struck with T.C. Williams included no lights at the stadium. Now there is a push to change that and Terrell-Washington and others fear what those lights will bring.

"It's going to bring in other revenue-generating events that we're going to have to deal with all year, all week, late night events, and that is what we're concerned about,” she says.

They met with school board officials Monday evening at the high school to share their concerns during a meeting that was organized to discuss initiating a stadium lights feasibility study.

Other neighbors and residents who want the lights also attended the meeting. They say the concerns are unfounded and that lights would be rallying point for the community on Friday nights.

Zach Eisenhour is a T.C. Williams High School student-athlete. He says the school pride the lights would help instill would be priceless.

"For most of our athletes, they won't get the opportunity to play organized sports at the next level,” Eisenhour says. “Even fewer will get to play in front of larger crowds, and quite frankly, it's a shame that the selfishness of a few will take away from the enjoyment of the many."

T.C. Williams is the only high school in northern Virginia without lights.

Parents say lights would help make scheduling a growing roster of activities much easier and give their children a chance to participate in multiple sports without the time constraints that come with having a stadium with no lights.

One parent says, "Our kids should have as many opportunities as possible."

School officials plan to hold another meeting on June 19 for residents to voice their concerns.


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