The city manager's decision to permanently at the University City driving range brought out his supporters and opponents at Monday night's City Council meeting.
Ethan Schuman, a vocal critic of the Ruth Park Driving Range, commended City Manager Lehman Walker for his decision to keep the lights off. He said the range lighting had destroyed the tranquility of his neighborhood, turning it into "Six Flags."
"I just want to give my personal thanks on behalf of my family to those responsible for turning the lights off," said Barry Mandelbaum, who lives across the street from the range. "We're enjoying the evenings now." He said his family is once again experiencing the tranquility it expects from a residential neighborhood.
Schuman and Mandelbaum were members of a , that made recommendations to Walker about the range lighting.
Mr. Walker deserves praise for starting to deal with "the many wrongs of an ill conceived facility," said William Field, also a member of the driving range committee.
However, other golf committee members criticized Walker's action.
"I think this is a very bad decision," said driving range committee member Larry Mass. It's very inconvenient he said, adding that the driving range is a tremendous asset to University City.
Golf committee member, Stanford Carp told council that the lights would be an issue during the next election. "We can guarantee that. It will be an issue for all councilmembers...and the mayor," he said.
A committee of driving range neighbors and golf enthusiast was formed at Walker's request, to look at complaints about the range, including issues with lighting, safety and noise.
Last week, Walker told University City Patch that he "determined it was in the best interest of the residents who live across the street to not turn the lights back on." Before the policy change, the range lights would stay on until 9:30pm, weather permitting.
Permanently turning off the range lights was not among the suggestions the committee sent to Walker. When U City Patch asked Walker why he implemented an action that was not one of the recommendations, he said "it was a decision that I made," and reiterated that he believed it was "in the best interest" of the neighbors.
The lights have been turned off now for several months.