Residents Get City Help With Noise From Rec Center

January 27, 2010

Sheila Dekuyper held back sobs as she explained how noise from mechanical equipment behind the new West University Recreation Center penetrates into her home, disturbing her family and possibly decreasing her home value.

“It was so loud one night, the four of us were watching a Christmas special on TV with the dishwasher on, and we could still hear it,” she told the West U. City Council on Jan. 25.

The West U. Recreation Center rises behind homes on Ruskin Street. Residents asked for the city's help with noise and light.

The West U. Recreation Center rises behind homes on Ruskin Street. Residents asked for the city's help with noise.

Dekuyper said her family may have to move from its Ruskin Street home soon for her husband’s career.

“I can’t sell it with this noise,” she said, crying.

Dekuyper was joined by six other residents of the street directly behind the Recreation Center to ask the council to pay an extra $9,200 to build a 10-foot privacy fence — Two feet taller than currently planned.

The extra expenditure passed 3-2 after residents gained the sympathy of Mayor Bob Kelly and Council Members George Boehme and Steven Segal. The council approved spending up to $9,200 to construct a 10-foot fence, but the actual cost could be lower. Three residents have decided they only need eight feet, but they want neighbors closer to the noisy equipment to have the taller fence.

“It’s just a matter of us being good neighbors. We need to go do something about this,” said Boehme. “It is very loud.”

Before voting to approve the expense, Kelly reminded other council members of their promises to keep the Recreation Center construction on budget.

“Who all votes for this should realize when we get down to the end, if we’re down $10,000, we know what happened,” Kelly said. He added later: “Somewhere down the road, something may have to be cut.”

City Manager Michael Ross said the city has already committed about $100,000 to lessen the impact on the Ruskin Street homeowners. The city will build the privacy fence, place noise-reduction barriers around the mechanical equipment and install landscaping that should add privacy, reduce noise and block the Recreation Center’s lights.

There is no indication the project will be over budget at this point, said Ross.

That didn’t matter to Mayor Pro Tem Bob Fry, who voted against the taller fence.

“I’m not voting for anything over budget on this project,” said Fry.

Councilman Chuck Guffey also voted against spending the extra $9,200.

“There’s still mitigation to go in. Certainly it’s bad now, but it won’t necessarily be that way in the future,” Guffey said.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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