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Covington neighbors worry over Holmes High School field renovation

Posted: 7:12 PM, Feb 02, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-02 19:12:29-05

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Holmes High School's nearly-80-year-old Tom Ellis Stadium is getting a facelift with new turf, a new track and a new press box.

While some are excited about the renovations, some neighbors are worried they'll be struck with a mess after the work is done.

Barbara Horsley and Russ Horsley haven't seen the owls or hawks they used to see in their Wallace Woods backyard recently, with the tree removal, noise and lights associated with the stadium.

"We enjoy hearing the games -- but at a certain decibel -- and we love the bands playing, that's no problem," Barbara Horsley said. "And the kids, we like for them to enjoy the field, but when we can't sit on our front porch because of loudness and inappropriate music, then that becomes a problem."

She said they want to school to "be a good neighbor."

In a written statement, the school district said they "will continue to be good neighbors to residents living near our school."

The school said they sent out letters to residents informing them of the construction and agreed to meet with neighbors last week. The district also said that not all neighbors are complaining.

"Most of the community, students, staff and alumni are excited about the new football field," the district said. "The field looks great, and our students are so deserving of playing on a top-notch field. We believe the field is something that should be celebrated."

The field has had a lot of support. The TEAM Foundation raised hundreds-of-thousands of dollars toward the cost of the work. Jay Fossett of the foundation said the improvements are much-needed.

"The problem with the current field is only about 8-10 events can occur on it each year before it's in such bad shape," Fossett said. "The kids can't play on it."

The school said that they haven't had any games on the field this school year. But Horsley said they've seen and heard lots of activity going on there.

Horsley said she hoped the school would work with neighbors to come up with rules for the field.

"I appreciate the school and what it's trying to do for the kids," Horsley said. "I want them to succeed, but I also want a comfortable life in my neighborhood and my home."

The work began in the fall and school officials expect it to be done in the spring. A second phase of renovations and development at Holmes High and Middle schools is scheduled to begin in June.