Ward 3 Councilman Shares Major Concerns With Edison Fields Proposal But Fully Supports The Process

I would like to share my perspective on the Edison Fields Project which I have discussed many times with Ward 3 residents on a one-to-one basis including explaining the planning process being followed and ending some untrue speculation about this project.

First, the Edison Fields Concept Proposal is not a fait de accompli. Several residents who I have spoken with believe the concept plan that was originally presented in June has already been approved. This isn’t true. Hopefully you are aware that at the Aug. 10 Council Meeting, the Recreation Commission -- which is leading this process – announced it is scaling back the project as a result of extensive public input.

This announcement illustrates that the town is following the same planning process it has followed for other major initiatives like the revised Historic Preservation Ordinance that was passed in 2020. This process involves several steps including 1) introducing a proposal or concept plan based on a town priority or strategic planning process, 2) gathering public input, 3) revising the proposal or concept plan based on that input, 4) gathering public input on a revised proposal, and revising it further if necessary and 5) eventually presenting a final proposal to the Town Council for a vote or dropping the initiative altogether. The Edison Fields Proposal is now in the 3rd step in this process – which is revising the original concept plan based on extensive public input.

I share many of the concerns that have been raised thus far and which I heard directly from you at the three public meetings (two public input meetings and the Aug. 10 Council meeting), a resident meeting I held with Ward 4 Councilwoman Mackey on July 4th as well as in discussions/emails with many of you. These concerns -- which include issues around traffic, safety, parking, environmental impact, health, noise, lighting and cost – need to be addressed in the scaled back plan.  Please note that I live two blocks from Edison and Kehler Stadium so I am very aware of these issues since I live in the immediate area.

Since I’m not directly involved in this planning process, however, I’ve focused my role on ensuring that your concerns are heard by those members of the government who are involved including members of the Recreation Commission, Town Officials and the Council Liaison to the Recreation Commission. I’ve summarized the issues that I’ve heard and shared them directly with this group to make sure your voices are heard by those leading the process.

I also advocated strongly for the inclusion of residents from the Edison School neighborhood to be part of the planning process going forward. And I am happy to report that 5 neighbors from both Wards 3 and 4 have agreed to be part of this Edison Neighborhood Advisory Council.

Going forward, I will continue to play this same role as a Ward 3 advocate. This includes ensuring you have the opportunity to share your feedback directly with the leaders of the process, making myself available to listen to your questions and concerns and ensure they are heard and lastly, and most importantly, making sure that any scaled back plan addresses your concerns and mine.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

Ward 3 Councilman David Contract