It took until 1 a.m. Tuesday morning for the Roswell City Council to approve a measure granting Fellowship Christian School permission to build a 1,500 seat football stadium complete with lights, a press box and a public address system thanks to a vote of 4-2.
Council members Nancy Diamond, Betty Price, Becky Wynn and Jerry Orlans voted in favor of the resolution, while Kent Igleheart and Rich Dippolito voted against it at the end of a very long and somewhat heated meeting.
The ruling reversed a decision made by the council back in 2006 denying the school permission to build a lighted stadium. Back then, FCS took their fight all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court and lost.
"I think the city did the right thing," said Don Rolader, the attorney representing FCS.
The decision came despite the very vocal opposition conveyed by the neighborhoods most affected including Devereaux Downs, Barrington Manor, Greenway Hills, Broughton Park and Glenns of Crabapple.
"I think what we saw last night was the triumphing of politics over reason," said Richard Arena, a Woodstock Road Neighborhood Coalition member.
The negative feeling towards the issue by surrounding residents didn't dampen the school's spirit, however.
"We're excited. A lot of our kids who play football, soccer, lacrosse and all of our sports grow up dreaming of playing under the lights and having their name called out. It gives us at least the opportunity to have that for football, soccer and lacrosse," FCS Athletic Director Hunter Chadwick said. "Who knows what the future holds. Hopefully we'll be able to move forward and be good neighbors and show that we are good neighbors. We'll continue to work with the city and all those that are a part of the city. We have in the past and we will continue to do that."
Fellowship Christian was granted approval by the council to build a lighted football stadium with a PA system, but was denied permission to have lights on the baseball and softball fields, which they were hoping to get. FCS was also denied permission to have concerts in the stadium.