By a 4-3 vote the Mequon Plan Commission agreed last night to an amended building plan for the Concordia University baseball stadium, drawing sarcastic comments, "Thank you for standing up for the taxpayers," from several nearby residents who opposed the changes.
Eight to ten brick columns planned for the back of the main grandstand and entry area and concessions under that grandstand will no longer be part of the plan, at least for the foreseeable future.
Andrew Petzold, speaking on behalf of the university, downplayed the changes, saying that the university had added hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrades to the building, including artificial turf and a choice to move from stadium seats and bleachers to all stadium seats.
Petzold said fundraising for the brick columns, Pillars of Faith, did not work out as anticipated.
"The goal was to get a sponsor for those," he said. When the sponsor was unable to make the expected $250,000 donation, the university decided to change the plan.
Several neighbors asked the commission to deny the request, saying that Concordia has a history of failing to carry through with approved plans, citing a parking lot and traffic plan as two of several examples.
Mayor Curt Gielow, an employee of Concordia, recused himself from the discussion and vote, leaving Alderman Dan Abendroth to conduct that portion of the meeting.
Abendroth, one of three who voted against allowing the changes, suggested that Concordia should be allowed to use the facility but should be expected to finish it as originally approved within a specific time period.
"They are asking us to believe they don't have the financial wherewithal to do this," Abendroth said.
Abendroth said he believes the commission and the Common Council approved the plans because both groups believed the stadium was a signature project for the city.
"I think they need to step up and build it the way it was approved," he said.
Commissioner David Romoser said the changes face south and southwest and are only visible to the campus itself.
"I don't think we should get into imposing a financial burden on the university," he said.
Romoser then called the question, ending the discussion, and the commission narrowly approved the changes.
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