McDonald complex topic of frustration

McDONALD — Residents here expressed their concern and frustration to the school board Wednesday on the condition of the football stadium and the more than two years that has passed trying to get a location for a new athletic complex.

Resident Richard Martin said voters in 2016 approved a levy to support a new athletic complex.

But since, the money was given back as the project was put on hold. A site near McDonald Avenue Extension and Olive Street between Second and Third streets needed environmental and soil testing done and also mineral and oil rights issues addressed.

“At one time we had a premiere field. There are now major problems at the football stadium. We have bad electricity, poor lighting and the press box leaks and is not safe. How long will this go on?,” Martin said.

The stadium was constructed in the 1950s.

Board President John Saganich said several options are being considered, but the board can’t move forward on the site for a complex until mineral and oil rights are addressed. He said the board has reviewed costs for refurbishing the current sports complex.

Board member Joseph Cappuzzello said cost for the ugprades, which include new restrooms, track foundation and lighting, is between $3 million and $4 million.

“Whatever we do it will cost a lot of money. I want to be careful with what we spend,” he said.

Cappuzzello said the board is waiting to see what happens with the other site before spending any money on the stadium since the new location “would be more ideal for a complex.”

Superintendent Kevin O’Connell said the has spoken to companies about improvements and noted parts of the stadium are not complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said lighting work alone would be $80,000 to $100,000. O’Connell said the press box needs to be looked at for safety.

Board member Thomas Hannon said he can’t believe it has taken almost two years to address oil and mineral rights as well as get all the surveying work done.

“It infuriates me that things are moving so slowly,” Hannon said.

Martin said because things are not getting done in a timely manner residents may not be as supportive of future school levies. Resident Patricia Gault said people have been attending meetings and asking questions, but nothing has changed.

“People are getting frustrated. This keeps going on and on and is like a sore that will not go away,” said resident Cathy Wood.