For now, things are quiet in the neighborhood next to Prairie Elementary School in Orland Park, where a noise dispute involving the school and a village resident is being arbitrated by the chief of police.
The dispute centers on a playground project that Orland Elementary District 135 undertook two years ago that incorporated musical instruments placed in an area of the school’s playground.
A nearby resident has since tried to convince district officials to remove the instruments, saying they are hurting the family’s quality of life, according to Chief Eric Rossi.
In recent weeks, the resident began playing loud music that “included songs with vulgar content and language clearly unsuitable for children,” according to the chef.
The district subsequently removed the musical instrument elements except for a bell, but the basic structures remain, Rossi said in a letter to families of Prairie students.
On Monday, three basic structures for what appear to have been percussion instruments remained, along with an instrument that looks like a xylophone but lacks the mallets to play it.
Rossi said in the letter that he was mediating discussions between the landlord and school staff.
A temporary peace has been reached, with the owner unplugging loud music while the district “considers a proposed compromise resolution,” Rossi wrote.
“Progress is being made in this dispute, and I hope a permanent solution can be found in the very near future,” he wrote.
The leader wrote that a “win-win resolution is within reach”.
Prairie Playground, 14200 S. 82nd Ave., is close to the backyards of some of the homes in Streamstown Court, where the resident involved in the dispute lives, and runs parallel to 82nd Avenue.
A resident of Streamstown Court, who asked not to be identified by name, said on Monday she was not particularly bothered by sounds coming from the playground.
“I can hear it if I’m outside, but that’s about it,” she said. “I haven’t thought about it much, but I can understand that other people might be upset.”
What irritated him was the loud music one of his neighbors was playing in retaliation.
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“You can’t really call it music in my opinion,” she said. “It was just awful.”
In his letter, Rossi said his department had, prior to mediation efforts, been “called to the area on multiple occasions” for noise complaints about loud music.
He said a meter was used to measure the volume of music coming from the property, and each time a level was tested, the noise recorded below limits set by village code.
The chief said the village has no authority “to regulate the location of playground equipment and/or its use at Prairie Elementary School or to require the school board to take specific action to this regard”.
Rossi did not respond to a message left Monday requesting additional information about the ongoing dispute.
A school district spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment. District schools were not in session Monday.