Debate over Saint Ambrose University Stadium Project Continues - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Debate over Saint Ambrose University Stadium Project Continues

Posted: Updated: Jun 25, 2014 11:40 PM
Wednesday marked the second of three votes on the heavily debated proposal by Saint Ambrose University to rezone dozens of acres of land and  build a new stadium next to Assumption High School. Dozens of neighbors packed into council chambers, sharing their thoughts and concerns. 

The meeting actually wrapped up sooner than those in weeks past, but more neighbors actually got up to speak. Thirty-two of them, taking to the podium. For weeks, the opposition to this stadium project and the rezoning request on the table now, has been very vocal. But supporters also made their voices heard. Eleven of them speaking in favor of the project versus 21 against. Much of it what we have heard before, concerns about sewage and storm water or traffic and safety. But the the big focus this night; boundaries.

Neighbors are concerned that Ambrose reps are changing the boundaries, continuing to make the project and the campus bigger, essentially swallowing up the neighborhood so many are passionate to save. Neighbor John LaBella says, "I've heard they want to buy up Assumption when enrollment goes down. When the Sisters of Humility  move out, they want to buy up that. They basically own the ISIS building. And it keeps going and going and going and going." Neighbor James Welch agrees. He says of long-time neighbors, "Brown Street and the two blocks that adjoin the University are all pretty much owned by the University and students resided in those houses. So they've seen what's happened to that neighborhood over the years, and they feared the westward expansion of the University is going to continue."

But Vice President of Finance Mike Poster says no. "That's certainly not in our plans. In fact, when we acquired the St. Vincent Center property, we acquired the Diocese property and the Sisters of Humility property. We subsequently sold those back to them. So if we had an intention of making that a second campus, we would not have done that. So that's not in our future plans."

Those plans, and the boundaries, are also a concern of at least one alderman. Mike Matson, pointing out the rezoning request focuses on 30 acres for the stadium, sports complex and parking. But it reads that it's in accordance with the Campus Master Plan, and that covers 40 acres.

There will be a lot more talking from neighbors, aldermen and University reps before a final vote in two weeks.

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