News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012
MARTINEZ, Ga. -- When the Springlakes neighborhood took on Augusta Prep over new lights for a new football field, it turned into one of the most heated decisions for Columbia County commissioners last year. In the end, it was a compromise that brought them together.
Now the Augusta Prep football players are getting ready for their first Friday night home game ever, and they're inviting their Springlakes neighbors to come and be a part of it.
"I can't even tell how excited the whole entire community is, Friday night under the lights," said Becky Gilmore, head of school at Augusta Prep.
Dozens packed a commission chamber complaining the lights and noise from games would be a bother.
"I'm not really going to go there ... I just know that we're going to more forward," said Mike Frits, the liaison between the Springlakes HOA Board and Augusta Prep. "That was taken care of by the county. They voted to allow the lights to be put in."
After compromising on the number of night games and how late the games could go, Augusta Prep also compromised on the lights themselves, paying $200,000 for lights that only shine on the field.
"The compromise part of it was that we would spend the extra money to purchase that type of lighting so that it did minimize the impact," Gilmore said.
"We have some neighbors that are concerned and we just have to go with what's been decided on and move forward," Frits said.
But now the two groups are working to play nice.
"We just want to be good neighbors. We've started a liaison between Springlakes and Augusta Prep; we meet with them quite often," Frits said.
And Augusta Prep is inviting the neighbors to come enjoy free tickets and help cheer the Cavaliers on to a win.
"We invite them to be on our campus and be part of our family and join in the excitement in hopes that as we work together in the future things will be much more smooth," Gilmore said.
"We're excited as neighbors that they're having their first game under the lights and we're just excited to have the offer made to us to come and join them," Frits said.
More than 20 Springlakes neighbors have picked up their free tickets and plan on coming to the game Friday. Augusta Prep takes on Thomas Jefferson Friday at 7:30 p.m.
News 12 will be there for Operation Football Live's tailgate party on News 12 at 6 o'clock.
According to the agreement, the lights must be off by 10:30 p.m.