Letter to the Editor: Stadium decision reflects selfishness

Letter to the Editor: Stadium decision reflects selfishness
Stadium lights at Witter Recreational Fields off of Duke Street. (Photo Credit: Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

Our neighbors had valid fear that their heritage, their way of life and their property rights would be impacted by a city decision, and what’s the city’s response? To predetermine the desired outcome, and run over their objections to that outcome as cleanly as possible.

Why did the city not take an empathetic and careful approach to honor their property rights, make amends for our historical disrespect for their families and design a stadium landscape that enlarges our kids’ ability to play sports at the same time? Was there a city-wide analysis, into the future, that may have allowed for less focus on this problematic site?

The result of the Oct. 11 Alexandria Times poll was shocking. While the majority of respondents agreed that the city had promised the Woods residents that there would never be stadium lights next to their homes, a substantial number said the promise – and the 2004 SUP supporting the promise – was irrelevant because “we need a lighted stadium now.”

Do so many of us only care about ourselves, no matter the impact on our neighbors? To these people: Would you want 80-foot-tall stadium lights right behind your house, with the light pollution while you try to sleep, the abrasive shouting and screaming until late at night waking you and your children, and the sound of cars revving engines?

Would you accept criticism of your choice of neighborhood, made before the lights were built, even if it was not a choice? Would you gamely accept the standpoint that you are just like anyone who chose to live here in the past few years – even if your family actually has a long, painful history at this spot?

The Woods families, the descendants of the Fort Ward and Seminary families, have earned the right to a peaceful life. The planning commission and city council were wrong to approve the half-baked, inconsiderate plans for stadium lights and late-night games every day at T.C. Williams High School.

-Kathleen Kust, Alexandria