New bleachers causing controversy in the suburbs

Crystal Lake South’s neighbors simply can’t believe what they’re seeing … or not seeing.

New bleachers were built at the high school and neighbors call it wall of steel blocking out the sky.

The new, 3800-seat, set of football bleachers was built for a school with a student body of around 1800.

Construction is almost complete, without a permit from the city. The school district says it’s not all that much bigger than the old one which needed upgrading.  They say they followed the rules and got a green light for the $1.2 million dollar project from its own regional superintendent.

“This wasn’t covert at all,” said Jeff Puma, spokesman for School District 155. “We talked about it to the media and to the local papers.”

To Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Sheply, it’s a stunner from a school board that’s always played ball.  In a letter to the district, the Mayor Sheply expressed Crystal Lake’s “deep disappointment” over a move he describes as”brazen.”

The mayor says District 155 has sought city approval 26 times over the last 25 years, for projects as mundane as the lighted sign outside the high school. But not this time.

“Another way of characterizing it could be its better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” Sheply said.

Construction of the bleachers is just wrapping-up. They’ll stay up for football season, but depending on what a judge says, at least part of what’s just been built may have to come down.

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