St. Ambrose University hopes to build a football stadium and sports complex of its own, but neighbors are already mounting opposition to the plans.
St. Ambrose track and field is one of several school teams without a home.
“We don’t have the opportunity to host outdoor track meets right now,” said senior Becca Wilder, a cross country and track athlete.
The football team also plays off-campus, hosting its games at Davenport’s public school stadium.
“Out athletic teams practice or play at 20 different venues throughout the Quad Cities, which kind of gives you an indication of the disparity that we have with other schools,” said Mike Poster, vice president of finances at St. Ambrose.
For this reason, the university wants to build a sports complex around the St. Vincent’s property off West Central Park Avenue, next to Assumption High School. The site currently holds a softball field, two practice soccer/football fields, and a competition soccer field.
SAU hopes to upgrade the softball field and two practice fields, and build a 2,500-seat stadium with a 400-meter track, shot put/discus area, and parking for 575 cars.
“A lot of the high school students that we’re recruiting now have better facilities at their high schools than what we have as a college and university,” said Poster.
Some neighbors, though, are very worried about the plans. Many have posted red signs that read “No SAU Stadium” in their yards surrounding the 45-acre site.
At an informal, drop-in meeting Thursday, neighbors raised more questions about the plan. The primary concerns are traffic, lights, and noise from the proposed stadium.
“It comes to the point where I think we agree to disagree,” said neighbor Jim Welch, who serves as president of SAU’s Neighborhood Relations Council.
The University says it hopes to create a plan that neighbors can support, and that it’s current plan already represents major concessions to address neighbors’ concerns.
“We had a 5,000-seat stadium; we’ve cut that down to 2,500. We’ve moved the stadium to the middle of the complex, so it’s as far away from the neighborhoods to the east and west as we can get it. We kept the treeline in tact, so that shields light from the neighbors,” said Poster.
But Welch says although neighbors support a stadium, they simply don’t believe it’s best located in their neighborhood.
“We suggest that they could have their dream complex in say the northwest area of our city,” said Welch.
St. Ambrose is hosting four more drop-in sessions over the next month for neighbors to ask questions, look at drawings, and talk with university officials.
- Thursday, Feb. 6, following the 6 p.m. Neighborhood Update Meeting
- Monday, Feb. 17, noon-1 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 27, 7:30-8:30 a.m.
- Monday, March 3, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
After a 90-day period, St. Ambrose will go to the Planning and Zoning Commission with its plan, and then it will go before City Council.